The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Personal Response:

I found this book very interesting and very honestly more enjoyable to read. Kate Chopin had written the book at the beginning like it was going to be the typical book you read about romance as if the reader will predict what’s going to happen just by reading the first few chapters. At first, I thought this book was going to be another normal and happily ever after romance book, but to my surprise, it didn’t turn out like that at all. Reading more and more of the book caught me off guard, just like when I had read Pygmalion. I thought at first that Eliza would end up with Mr.Higgins, but it didn’t happen, the same with Edna and Robert.

Being on the topic of Edan I don’t think she was a bad mother or person. Edan had always put others’ needs before her own. It had come a bit in class discussions that Edna was neglecting her children, but the children of Edna and Leonce came up briefly. When they had come up in the story it normal was when Mr. Pontellier was worried about his children. There were no signs that Edan neglected her children or that she didn’t care for her children as well. Edna in this story to me shows quite clear signs that she cares for her children and doesn’t neglect them one bit. An example of this would be in chapter three when Mr. Pontellier came home late from Klein’s Hotel. Mr. Pontellier had gotten back to the cabin and thought that Raoul was coming down with a fever, Edna in response said that he was fine and that he didn’t have a fever. At first, I had thought she was neglecting one of her kids, but after reading the text after her response, I realized that I had only thought that because Mr. Pontieller had made it seem like she was. Mr. Pontellier had thought she was a bad mother and put an image that she was even though Edna wasn’t a bad mother at all. She had been with her kids when Mr. Pontellier had left and out of the two of them, she would be the one to know if her kids were sick or not. Also, I think that if Edna didn’t care about her children I don’t think she would have held, Etienne when he was still awake while they were out. If she had not cared for her children she would have done nothing and walked passed him as if he wasn’t there.

I also think Edna received hate which I think and believe to be unfair. In the class discussion, it’s come up that she was a bad person. To me, I saw it as that she wasn’t allowed to be human and shouldn’t have her own opinions, thoughts, and wishes. Near the end of the story, Edna had finally started to do things for herself and started to put herself first, but as soon as she did she had started receiving hate. I think that Edna slowly started to realize that she wanted to start to put herself first and do things that would befit her well-being. She had no longer confined to doing things because she saw it as her duty to put everyone else first and then her second. This reminds me of Nora from the story A Doll’s House by Henrik Isben, Nora had done as she was told and acted the way her husband expected her to act. Nora later seemed to be unhappy with herself and wanted to start putting herself first, just like Edna.

This book certainly surprised me somewhere towards the middle of the book. I was very pleased reading this book and didn’t think that it would be very interesting at all if I’m being completely honest. I also had grown to sympathize with Edan after chapter four and so on, she had received so much hate and was being pinned as the bad person in this story. I think Edna had done the right thing by starting to put herself first, and even though she started putting herself first she never put herself first when it had come to her children, proving also that she does care for her children as well.

The Awakening – Personal Response

This will be a short response, mainly because I read the story, did not think about the questions it raised or read the underlying symbolism.  I only read to page 131 of the book, around part 38 (XXXVIII).  Which further kiboshes my agility and ability on the English obstacle course.  And so…

Hears what I think of the story, as well as my other thoughts.

It seams like a common theme to have a strong female character try and explain (example: Edna can do what she pleases because, she to, is a human being) to a male character, like Robert and Edna, and the man can’t seem to wrap his head around what she is saying.  perhaps it is that I am born in this time or that I’m just weird, but I don’t understand how a man could not wrap their head around some thing so simple.  They can’t seem to just go, “great, your head strong, and you’ve realized that your a human being how can make your own choices.”  He (I’m picking on Robert) just seem to sit there, white in the face, going “what? but but but. ????? *insert abject confusion here* ???”.  They all seem to be hard headed, unable to change in the slightest way.

I also note that Robert is a lot like Mr. Pontellier, a business man who is a man of his time and set in his ways.  But it fascinates me on how much different of a character Robert would be if he stayed when Edna begged him to, or if he did comprehend her notion of, her being free to do what she wants.

Over all the story is good, I hear that others find it slow, but I’ve read slower.  I actually find that it has a fairly pleasant pace.  Chopin paints the world of The Awakening very vividly in my mind, I like having a world that I can sink my teeth in to.  She also paints most of the characters vividly, so that they seem like real people in some fashion or other.  The events of the story shape the characters, but I find them a bit, common.  Which I suppose is the entire reason they’re there.  Same with the characters and the world, everything except Edna, who is different only because she “Awakens”.

The Awakening Personal Response

While reading „the awakening“ by Kate Chopin I had made one real personal opinion, which was that Edna was wrong for what she had done. Edna’s relationship began as almost perfect it seemed only of course in retrospect to the standards held by the book. She was married to Leonce, had two children and was wealthy. However, it didn’t stay that way for long. Edna began to explore her hobbies and extra-curriculars quite frequently and therefore began neglecting her Family. She relinquished all her duties to pursue her hobbies, duties such as taking care of the children and taking care of the household. Frankly I was increasingly disappointed in Edna as she was not thinking about anyone else but her. She had been very selfish without considering her husband or even her kids. I do understand that she was unhappy and therefore had her right to leave her husband, yet she was incredibly inappropriate about it. She did not have get involved with other men before ending things with her husband, knowingly troubling her husband and his image, or abandon her children.

Overall, I believe that Edna’s rash decisions made the book interesting for me as she seemed somewhat unpredictable making every page interesting on its own. Although I do not approve of her methods, I do understand her wishes to leave her husband.  It reminded me somewhat of a “dolls house” as Edna and Nora seemed to be in a similar situation. Well at least mentally. Both appeared to be unsure about their true selves and what they want to do with their own future. Leading to both of them leaving their families however in my opinion Nora left in a more respectable manner, whereas Edna just seemed disrespectful even to her own children,

The Awakening Personal Response

After reading The Awakening by Kate Chopin, I was left to wonder about many things, was Edna a good mother, was Edna a good wife, did Edna truly act like a child and many more. The main one I kept thinking about was, was Edna a good mother to Etienne and Raoul? Throughout the book in our class discussions there was a lot of back and forth about this question, she seems like she only cares for herself and neglects them, or she seems like she cares a lot about them but wants them to grow up and be their own person. 

I believe that Edna was a good mother, multiple times in the book she is seen taking care of her kids and doing things to help them. An example of this is when Edna comes home and Etienne hasn’t been able to sleep or calm down so she picks him up and consoles him till he is sleeping, another example is when her kids are playing in the sun and she moves them to the shade and gets upset with the maid for letting them in the sun for so long. At the end of the book when she is trying to make all of her final decisions she kept repeating to herself “To-day it is Arobin; to-morrow it will be someone else, it makes no difference to me, it doesn’t matter about Leonce Pontellier—but Raoul and Etienne!” (p.136). I don’t think that Edna didn’t want her kids or marriage, she didn’t want the sexist norms or that life, she did love and care for her children but she also wanted her own freedom and to be able to live her own life how she wanted. 

In conclusion, I do believe that Edna is a good mother and always had been, she took care of both of her kids all the time she just wasn’t coddling towards them, she was letting them be independent because she wanted her own independent life. She always thought about them and how they would feel, she just had to think about herself too. 

PR The Awakening

Being a little critical and honest, this was not my favorite book from the year. I found myself being confused with the names since there were a lot of madam’s and mademoiselles, it was sort of new to me as well. What I did like from the book and found very interesting is seeing how Edna responds to society and breaks all of the ideals society has for her as a women. She goes against all of the believes society has for women at that time. There were a few times in where I thought I was watching a Mexican telenovela from all the men she was dating and “messing around”.

Kate Chopin gives us two character perspectives which are complete opposites. Edna and Adele are two very important characters in the text who are also very good friends. The author likes to emphasize how Edna goes against the norms and standards put up by society and she shows how she does not go with the image of what was seen as an “ideal” woman. Mademoiselle Reisz gives another viewpoint to Edna and helps her realize different things throughout the text. She helps her find herself and gives her the emotional force she needed to go against the standards.

The book shows once again how harsh society can be on women with their standards and norms. In our society we can see many changes for them but reading text’s like these ones helps us emphasize in how we treat women and how unfair we can be to them.

Personal Response to The Awakening

In Kate Chopin’s, The Awakening, she presents a radicalized idea of society through the viewpoint of Edna Pontellier. Chopin contrasts Edna with two others feminine characters, Adele Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz, constructing a spectrum of “Victorian femininity”.

Adele falls on one extreme side of the spectrum. She is presented as the opposite of Edna, the Victorian feminine ideal. An embodiment of the perfect women, Adele has no desires or real identity outside her role as a mother and wife. She centers her life around her family and domestic duties, prioritizing their wants and needs. By introducing Adele as a close friend of Edna, Chopin provides readers with a clear and striking contrast. This emphasizes the conflicting views of the characters, increasing the significance of Edna’s refusal to conform to societal norms. On the other side of the spectrum, Mademoiselle Reisz is characterized as a rude and ill-tempered woman. She rejects the socially accepted lifestyle of Adele, opting for a life solitude and independence. Mademoiselle serves as a muse and inspiration to Edna, the catalyst of Edna’s radicalization. The relationship between Mademoiselle Reisz and Edna acts as an eye-opener for Edna, allowing Edna to seek an unknown side of her identity, exploring her new-found emotional dept and spiritual freedom.

Throughout the novel, Edna is presented with a dilemma. She could either conform to the socially accepted identity of a Victorian women, living a boring albeit comfortable life, or break away from society’s fixed boundaries, prioritizing her own wants and needs. Choosing the latter, she is immediately met with criticism, stemming from both within and outside the bounds of the novel. Edna is frequently described as “selfish,” a word I find unfitting. The word “selfish” has a negative connotation, portraying Edna in bad light. In my opinion, Edna brings up an intriguing discussion about society.

The concept of society has always been present. However, I question the extent to which society should play a role in dictating the lives of its community. While society is natural and essential for continual of human life, it creates rigid boundaries for its community. Anything that falls outside these margins is automatically rejected and condemned, whereas actions that conform to these norms are accepted and praised. Although society is beneficial to some, to others it acts as a handcuff, restraining their true passions and desires. This realization made me question the true purpose of society, whether society may be what is holding us back from becoming the best versions of ourselves. A difference in opinion has led to the change in norms
and radicalization has made progress throughout time. Ideas that were previously seen as unacceptable are more prone to acceptance in the current time. Nevertheless, change is a long and frustrating process, and I wonder whether the concept of society is source of problems, whether it would warrant systemic change.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin Personal Response

At first I was a little sceptical about reading the book, I thought it would be boring and reading “At the ‘Cadian Ball” and “The Storm” did not help at all. I am not going to lie, I hated reading the book at first, I found it boring, one dimensional, had too many names, too much drama that was not drama because it never became a problem; but after a while I started to grow a liking to Edna. Kate Chopin did not make Edna like the other characters, in the plays and books that we read, for example, in “A Doll’s house” Nora if she were a normal and logical person at that time, she would of never left her husband and kids without planing or she would have to come back in the end from her poor decision, it is those fairy tale finishes that happen but not quite right. On the other hand Edna’s characters has complex emotions but not exaggerated. She was a good mother but not in a way you will expect, she did take care of her children but wasn’t there all of the time. She fell in love with other people while being in a relationship and she accepted those feeling as they came, never neglecting them. She felt lustful when her husband and lover left, causing her to sleep with a man she just found attractive.

Kate Chopin gave us the most person like characters from that time. She did not want her kids but she did love them, she loved someone else and wanted to leave with her husband, she slept with someone else that want the lover or husband and when the lover came home she just ignored him, she hated that she had to be with her friend in a hard time, because let’s be honest, being with a friend going through something that is traumatic to you is hard and sometimes you want to put yourself first. She had valid feeling for not wanting ti be there, she thought those thing but she never went through with them and stayed with her friend all the way through.

In the end after coming to the realization that she was never going to have her perfect life, and if she even wanted to have something remotely close to it she was going to have to fight for it, and fight for it hard, she just went to the place she knew she would find peace, the ocean. She got to the shore and freed herself from her worries, the ocean calling her name, she swam until she got tired, not with the intention of killing herself but to free herself, but what is the difference really, for her those thing are completely different, for her killing herself is not wanting to be alive and hating life, and being freeing herself is letting go of her worries; if you put them side by side they are the same thing really, we do not know what happened after that feeling of nostalgia but we can all imagine what did.

In a way I relate to Edna, she wants to leave, she want to stop fighting and have a tranquil life, a happy life, one without worries, but if you are human that is impossible. Looking for that way to feel free, to relax but still not letting go of life.

I hope she was able to get to shore, leaving her old life behind start a new one, alone, on the beach, I hope she was able to smell those flowers again, and cherish the memories she made —with Mlle Reisz, Mme Ratignolle, Alcée Arobin, Léonce, her children, and Robert Lebrun— but not missing them, get a new old dog she could hear barking. I just hope she was able to come back and enjoy the little things in life.

PR: The Awakening

Out of all of the pieces of literature we have studied this year, The Awakening by Kate Chopin has to be the story that caught my attention the most. This book may not have been the most interesting to read – in fact I would even say that it was the least entertaining piece of literature we have read so far. I did not particularly enjoy the actual reading of this book, however there are other things that did strike me as interesting.

The main thing that I noticed when reading this was how controversial it was and still is. This book deals with adultery, feminism, lesbianism and suicide, which all stuck out to me for different reasons. Feminism and lesbianism are relatively accepted today. In the 19th century when this book was written, these ideas were not so accepted and I can see how they would be controversial. Not to mention that adultery and suicide are both topics that are still controversial today. Seeing these themes in this book was really quite a shock to me as I never would have expected to read a book like this that was written in the 19th century.

After the initial shock of realizing what type of book this was, I began to think of the story and the events taking place in a more analytical sense, and how these themes tie into the suggestions of the plot. One of the big things I noticed when doing this was that there is a very strong resemblance of A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen in this book. To start, feminism is a key concept in both works. There was a big connection of the issues raised by the main female lead realizing they don’t want to be with their husband, and want to be freed from the social standards put in place by society. I had this realization in the back of my mind while reading the book, but when I read the ending, I was even more certain of my ideas. Both books end with the main female character becoming “freed” from their husbands and the socials standards mentioned previously. That being said, not everyone may see it that way. Because Edna Pontellier in The Awakening commits suicide, it is probably brushed off by most as a sad ending. For me, it gives off mixed impressions. Edna was no longer happy being confined to the norms she was forced within by society, and more importantly by her husband and father. Because of this, her committing suicide in the end may not have been a sad ending after all. If Edna would really rather be dead than forced into the life she had, then this is just an act of her standing up for herself, making her even more empowered. The fact that she went against society and the “authoritative figures” (her father and husband) in her life proves that Edna stood up for herself in a way. This action is very similar to how Nora leaves her husband who treats her the same as her father did in A Doll’s House. Notice how both women feel confined mainly by two men: their husband and their father. Both women then seek to be freed from this, and ultimately do. This raises many questions about women’s role in society. Should women be allowed to leave their families and children? Why is it seen as the mother’s duty to care for her children? Due to the time period these texts were written in, I can image how they were both very controversial.

This wasn’t the only scene that really caught my eye in The Awakening, but it was the part that made me see the strongest connection between this book and A Doll’s House. Due to my personal response already being too long for people to want to read, I can’t share any of the other connections I noticed throughout the story. Although I didn’t really enjoy reading the book, I did enjoy the story overall and especially found it interesting to look at this text and previous texts and see the connection between them.

The Awakening Personal Response

Out of all the widely discussed topics in the field of arts, love might be one of those that is the most talked about and seems to be the most complicated to grasp on. The Awakening, is one prime example that had successfully posed the question about monogamy and infidelity, not in the way that made us want to criticize Edna, but wanting to understand and empathize with her.

We had all understood that for longest time ever, monogamy is most often to be expected in every couple, simply because it works. However, it is that just because it works, Chopin had potrayed the characters so well that it is easy for us to empathize with Edna and really questions about it. Edna is married to Léonce, who in the worst case, can only be described as quite boring in the readers’ eyes since he had fulfilled all that is of his role as a father and a husband. Despite all that, Edna still questions and follow with what she desires. It is because of this that make the Awakening worth questioning: if we have a husband who can fulfill everything, what point is there to cheat on him? So in this case, we have a situation of Edna not being entirely being a selfish person, but she is on her process of understanding herself. Although it is not fully justified that it is right for Edna to cheat, but as with any responsibility Edna has, she also has a responsibility to herself, to understand who she is. This theme was also well mentioned in A Doll’s House.

The Awakening had also posed a new definition about love that is also worth considering. This is most evident in the moment when Alcée kissed Edna: she was not really in love with him, but rather wished it was Robert who kissed her. So, in this sense, we can have someone we enjoy to engage in romantic acts with but not really loving them, which had brought a new dimension into how we can look at polyamory: we can love someone but to not have sex with them, but we can also have sex but not loving the other person. It shows how much awareness Edna has and provides more depth into her characteristics.

The Awakening although did not end with a good note, but after reading it, I believe it is a well-crafted mirror for anyone who is wanting answers for this question: What is it that I am looking for a relationship?

The Awakening Personal Response

After reading “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, I had mixed emotions about how the story ended. The protagonist Edna, starts off by being happily married to her husband Leonce, with her 2 children. She is unaware of what she truly wants. As the story progresses, Edna starts to value her ambitions and independence rather than being a “good wife” Edna feels suffocated in her marriage and prioritises painting, and spends time with other men instead of doing what she is expected to do as a “good mother and wife” I think there were a lot of women in the 1800s who felt the same way Edna did, but was too afraid to verbalise their opinions or take action as going against the strict gender norms would catch others attention and harsh judgement.  I think valuing your own wishes can be a positive thing to an extent. However, I think Edna took it too far to the point where her actions were not justifiable. For example, paying little attention to her children and eventually leaving her children without a mother. 

I think Mr Pontellier, Mademoiselle Reisz, and Madame Ratignolle were great additions to the story. It helped portrait the ideal husband and wife in the 1800s and what was out of the ordinary. Madame Ratignolle advises Edna to “think about her children” when she suspects Edna for having an affair with Alcee. Mr. Pontellier reminded me of Higgins from Pygmalion. They were both portrayed as the typical materialistic husbands in the 1800/early 1900s who failed to give their wives what they truly wanted. Mr. Pontellier’s focus on business blinds him from the self realisation and emotional growth Edna is going through. This results in not noticing that Edna has left him when she rents her own house.Mademoiselle Reisz, an independent self-sufficient woman, serves as a major  inspiration throughout Edna’s awakening. Edna is drawn and inspired by Mademoiselle Reisz’s piano performance and her love and passion for music. 

The ending was not what I expected. Edna abandons her children, Leonce and ignores the advice Madame Ratignolle gives, “ think about the children” and sets herself free by going for a swim. Chopin does not make the ending clear, it is left for the readers to interpret how Edna dies. I think If she continued to live as an independent rebellious woman, Edna could have become a self-reliant woman like Mademoiselle Reisz and grow to be an extraordinary example for her children especially in the 1800s when there were strict gender norms that were to be followed. 

 

The Awakening Personal Response

After reading “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, it left me with doubts about Edna’s decision at the end of killing herself, whether it is right or wrong? The way it is written is in a very descriptive way to understand Edna’s feelings and the society she lives in. It was boring for me. However, the question that it raised, made me think about Edna at the end getting away wether it was right or wrong.

Edna did not want to face what people thoughts about her after everything that happened and what was about to happened. She kills herself and just thinking about her children. There is one side that we can see it as right as she is not happy in her life, she feels tied on something that she does not want to,

“She thought of Leonce and her children. They were a part in her life. But they need not have thought that they could possess her, body and soul” (p.137)

She was thinking of her family but she is not happy anymore, she feels obligated in something that she once felt comfortable in. In the book the author conveys different events that shows Edna trying to escape from her feelings form her life. Showing that not always mothers are comfortable with their lives. But can we justified what she did? She only thinks about her children as a way of justifying what she is doing as the right thing for her. However, if we think about the children, what is going to happen with them after knowing their mother is dead? There was another way to get out of her life like moving to somewhere else.

The author gives a drastic change at the end to convey a feminist point of view that started since the begginig with Edna’s character in their society. Being an independent woman who doesn’t like her life being “possessed” by Mr. Pontellier as in normal society. Killing herself because of society.

I did not like the book, the story was not interesting. However, the author does a good job in conveying the idea of infidelity and not make the story predictable in that idea as we are used to the consequences of it and giving it a different path with Edna’s character.

The Awakening – Personal Response

Reading this book, we get to learn about Edna’s awakening and her experiences with growing as an individual. We are able to see the hardships of her willingness to meet society’s standards of “motherhood” and how her relationships with not only her children but her romantic relationships expressed her awakening. Edna most often prioritized herself and her own independence over her children. This made me connect The Awakening directly with A Doll’s House, a play we had read previously. I see a strong resemblance in character between Nora and Edna. Both characters not truly knowing themselves and being dictated and forced to adhere to societal standards. Both women were not happy in their current state and had enough. The expectations for women in both pieces of literature were high. Women and mothers had to take on a large role in taking care of their family and being a good housewife. Edna and Nora are two women that disregarded these expectations and eventually had a turning point which resulted in them leaving for themselves. I don’t think it was wrong for these women to leave, I think it was strong of them to do so but I don’t think they should have abandoned their children.

The ending was shocking to me as I did not see the death of Edna coming. This raised many questions for me. What was Kate Chopin indicating with this ending? It was left ambiguous and up to the readers to interpret, which was not favorable for me. I question whether or not the death was intentional? What did Edna’s death represent? Was she leaving behind society and the high standards society had towards motherhood? What realization does Edna have before she swims out and loses strength? To me, I believe her death was intentional and she had to leave for herself. She might have come to the realization that the life she was living was not the life she wanted for herself. We learn that she has a perfect husband and many other companions that fill her needs, she has lovely children and many friends but she is still unhappy. She wanted rid of the high standards and expectations society had for her. Edna had always felt a sense of freedom and independence when swimming and perhaps she wanted to leave Grand Isle with that same sense of freedom and independence. 

Overall, this novel was interesting and raised many questions and further discussions, especially towards the end. I am curious to learn how other readers interpret the ending.

 

Personal Response on The Awakening

The Awakening by Kate Chopin illustrates Edna Pontellier’s “awakening” journey, going against social convention and doing whatever she enjoys. I will discuss how Kate Chopin raises different questions and my thoughts on the book in this response.

Edna’s journey of ‘awakening’ is Edna achieving freedom from social conventions from her friends, husband, and even children. I perceive Edna’s awakening journey as her trying to find true happiness and freedom. Chopin displays this by using the ocean to symbolize her freedom. “A feeling of exultation overtook her as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and her soul. She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before”(p. xxx). Not only is the ocean an escape for Edna, but it also has a long history of historical importance to women’s empowerment. The moon and ocean are connected with women’s menstrual cycle, and many women goddesses, such as Aphrodite, Amphitrite, and Sirens. She even gets naked before she enters the water. This suggests that she is getting reborn. It also symbolizes she is undressing from social convention and responsibility. 

The role of being a mother is something Kate Chopin questions through Edna’s journey. I think her children are the biggest obstacle for her to be free. Throughout the story, Madame Ratigonolle often influences her on the ideal role of a mother and Edna often questions herself. “Think of the children, Edna. Oh, think of the children! Remember them!” (P.131) “The children appeared before her like little antagonists who had overcome her; who had overpowered and sought to drag her into soul’s slavery for the rest of her days. But she knew a way to elude them.” (P.127) It suggests that Edna isn’t connected to her children like the stereotypical mother would be. Some people just aren’t supposed to have kids, and Edna is one of them.

In the beginning, I was not too fond of Edna and thought she is a horrible wife and mother. I felt that she did not know how to appreciate how blessed her life was, considering that she is a middle-class, white woman. After I learned more about Edna, I thought she is a brave woman and a badass woman for going against social convention and doing whatever she pleased, especially when women did not have any authority. The process of her achieving freedom from society and letting go of the stereotypical role of a wife and even a mother was very inspiring to me. For example, should we go against social convention and do whatever we please? How would society become if we all follow Edna?

Another character that I am strongly attached to when reading is Robert. I think Robert is selfless and a true gentleman. Even if he is in love with Edna and knows that she would leave Leonce for him, he still goes to Mexico and leaves Edna in the end, knowing that it is the right thing to do. I can imagine the pain he is going through for him not staying with the love of his life and having to follow social conventions. This also shows that Robert is a victim of society. He fails to “awake” like Edna and chooses to follow what society thinks is correct. 

I found the story fascinating; however, I think the story’s ending was unnecessary and forced. Edna is presented as a strong woman and mother who does not care or give up despite society’s telling. The reason that she was so upset was that Robert had left her that night. She gives up her children, her husband, her friends and Robert, and this made me think that killing herself was selfish and inhumane. This is because she gave up her role as a mother, and the children would have to grow up without a mother and a dad that is often absent. Robert would have to live on feeling guilty, thinking that he is the cause of Edna’s death. Though I do understand why Kate Chopin would do this, as killing herself shows the amount of suffering that Edna has to bear, and she would instead give up her life than continue the suffering/following social conventions. Or killing herself is the final way of achieving absolute freedom and cutting every attachment and responsibility.

 

The Awakening

I already suspected after the first chapters that this story would not have a happy ending which got my interest for reading. The course of the story is mostly expected and there are few surprises. Often uninspired, the chatter of fine society ripples along. “Like a sad lullaby” the sea breaks in the night, a classic place of longing. Edna’s husband, who looks at her “like a precious piece of personal property,” reproaches her for inattention and neglect of the children. An “indescribable gloom” fills Edna’s being, which is elsewhere described as thoroughly lively and radiant. For the Doll’s House play it was different, the beginning seemed more boring because everything was described as “perfect” but after time we saw how unhappy that “perfect” made the people so the plot was not expected in the beginning.

The author makes no secret of the state of the Pontelliers’ marriage: the protagonist receives recognition for the “best husband in the world” from others. She herself feels “forced to admit that she doesn’t know anyone better”. Their conflict takes place behind the bourgeois facade and within. Also in Nora and Torwalld’s relationship was hiding their problems behind a marriage that seems perfect the most important thing. But we could clearly see that Nora was really trying to fit in that “perfect” life, that she did everything she was expected to. For Edna I think it was different because she did more what she wanted to than what was expected of her to do. Also her character didn’t had the development of Nora’s, which was really important for the tension of the text.

At that time, the woman was still the property of the man, had no opinion to have. But Edna tries to break out of this cage, like Nora did. Against all social dictates, regardless of the social relegation that goes along with it. She wants to free herself from these burdens that would otherwise crush her for life. Not without reason, then, The Awakening is considered a feminist book or a story of the women’s movement. Edna is a hero who at least tries to go her own way.

 

The Awakening PR Sergio Camarillo

Through out the reading of the awakening, I always felt that edna’s character development was very good as she constantly evolved and became her own person. Yet I felt that her actions were morally incorrect. Granted at first it was good because she stopped being an object/belonging to her husband but her rebellion was little by little being taken too far. She didn’t want to obey society’s rules and wanted to be her own person, free of any burdens and that ultimately cost her her life.

 I think that separating herself from Pontellier is fine because she didn’t want to marry him and if she is unhappy with her partner that’s totally fine, but casting away her children and not loving them that much isn’t ok. She did love them but the moment she wasn’t with them she forgot about them. She was a good mother though because her children were independent and when they needed her mother she was there, but killing herself at the end was very selfish of her part. The kids now don’t have a mother and she would rather die than keep being there for her kids.

Besides this, the affair she had with arobin wasn’t very justified and even after sleeping with him and feeling remorse, she still did it again because she succumbed to her desires. This would be fine if she didn’t love Robert, but that wasn’t the case. Granted they weren’t together, but she would get jealous if he did the same. Both were in he wrong in this case and just shows how far her rebellion took her that she doesn’t even know what to do.

Lastly, killing herself was a very selfish action. The book portrays it as a freeing thing and like she achieves what she wanted but I feel like its plain wrong. Sure she got what she wanted in the last moments: peace and freedom without a care in the world. But she abandoned her children, left them without a mother and left Robert. Even though they couldn’t be together that moment, probably in the future they could if circumstances were given. With suicide, the thing is you never know whats going to happen in the future.

She rejected everything to be at peace, but life isn’t that way and you can have peace but you also have to work for it, and she took the easy way out rather than keep facing motherhood and moving on. Its portrayed as a poetic action but I felt it was way too selfish and was the wrong decision at it reminded me of Nora. The difference is that Edna went through with that decision and gave up everything.

The Awakening Personal Response

The Awakening by Kate Chopin was a very interesting story that shocked me, especially towards the end. While reading this story, I was raised with many questions regarding motherhood and being a “good wife” and what that truly means. Like many novels we have read this year, I didn’t get clear answers to the many questions I had. However, by the end of the novel, I had raised many more. The two themes that stood out to me were the similarities between Edna and Nora from A Doll’s House, society’s expectations for the roles of a woman, mother, and wife concerning these women, and the symbolism of the sea in the story.

Edna is a woman who feels pressured by societal expectations and is stuck in a loveless marriage . However, throughout the novel, she slowly begins turning her thoughts into action and aligning her inner self with her outer self. This reminded me a lot of Nora from A Doll’s House. We see that at the beginning of both of these works of literature, these women feel conformed to the “roles “they must follow and towards the end, they both gain strength and go away from what society wants and do what they want. Both of these women were in relationships where they were not paid attention to like people. Even though Mr. Ponteiller was not like Torvald, the way the women felt was very similar. The feeling of being stuck. There were a lot of criticisms of how these women could abandon their children and leave. Both of these women expressed how they would not give themselves away, but that does mean they didn’t care about their families. They were both stuck in situations where all they did was care about the needs of their families and everyone around besides themselves. They both focused on the needs and requirements of their husbands, not even knowing themselves as individuals. They didn’t take the time to understand themselves as people and grow; they both had their breaking points where they rebelled and left. This shows the contrast between these two women and women at that time who felt the same way and kept silent.

The sea was a representation that was referred to several times in this novel to represent the awakening process of Edna as a woman who strived to be free and escape the life she was living. Free of being the perfect wife and the perfect mother.Free from the dominance of her husband and being confined to segregated roles. Free from all the oppression she was dealing with within herself. Free from her husband, her children and the pressure of societal norms. The sea was something Edna always observed in the novel. In the novel, we see her observing how others can swim and she cannot, representing the freedom and independence she longed for at the story’s beginning. However the end of the story, we see developments and a change when Edna approaches the sea from her perspective. Edna gains significant confidence in herself when she eventually learns to swim: “A feeling of exultation overtakes her as if some power of significant import had been given her soul. She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out….”
This passage shows that Edna was able to fight back her fears and go swimming, going deeper and deeper, leaving all the world’s responsibilities, issues and judgment behind her as the ocean taking her away forever.

Overall I had a lot of mixed emotions about this story and how I truly felt about the different characters; I don’t think it’s right for anyone to be unloyal to each other, in the case where Edna just cheated on her husband. However, the awakening of Edna and her feelings towards her life mirrored many women in the nineteenth century, as well as women today who are trapped by cultural conventions.

The Awakening – PR

The Awakening by Kate Chopin was about Edna breaking free from her traditional role in society and becoming free as a woman. The story begins with Edna in a marriage with two children. From the get go we get a feeling of disconnect from her family and her marriage to Léonce. An example is when Edna is talking with her friends and we get the passage, “they all declared that Mr. Pontellier was the best husband in the world. Mrs. Pontellier was forced to admit that she knew of none better” (p. 8). Léonce her husband is set up as a typical husband from the 1800s who is very controlling over his wife. Edna from the start feels like an object or valuable piece of jewelry to her husband as shown when Edna says, “I am no longer one of Mr. Pontellier’s possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where I choose” (p. 128). This situation that the story begins in, sets up the rest of the story for her awakening and makes the problem the book is addressing clear. 

    One of the key characters in the story is Adele. She is set up as a perfect motherly figure in order to show contrast between her and Edna. Adele is in the story shown as beautiful, earthly, never complains and basically a perfect mother. She is also pregnant which further fits her into her role in traditional society in the 1800s. On the other hand we have Edna who is shown to care for her children but doesn’t make them her life and instead prioritized herself. The existence of Adele makes Edna’s want of being a free woman more impactful and clear to see as a reader.

    This story uses other men to also show Edna’s awakening from society. She loves Robert, hooks up with Alcee Aroban, and is married to Léonce Pontelier. On the surface this may seem like she is not a very good woman however in the context of the story it makes sense. Edna wants to be free of her societal role so she doesn’t bother to stay loyal to her husband who treats her as an object and instead loves who she wants to love. This is an awakening for edna to be able to love whoever she wants however I think she is still somewhat trapped to society as shown when she commits suicide in the last chapter. I believe this is saying that the pressure from society on women is enormous and even if you try to break free society you will just ruin yourself and be all alone. This makes me wonder if the author Kate Chopin felt the same as Edna and is trying to tell us the reader that society doesn’t have room for those who break free from it. It’s as if she is criticizing the way the world is and wants society to change and becoming willing to accept people who break free from the standards.

The Awakening

The Awakening by Kate Chopin, was a very interesting and analytical read. The writing itself was done very well, but I could not help disliking it because of the extent to which it described scenes and did not get to the point in a direct way. Kate Chopin instead created the characters to be real people with real feelings and actions which I could relate to in some ways. The characters contradicted themselves to an extent, but that is what made them so life like. The endless descriptions of the scenery and the characters meticulous lives made it difficult to grasp the importance rather than the overall picture.

Kate Chopin wrote the story focused mainly upon the protagonist: Edna. She was both inspirational, and looked down upon for her actions. I viewed what she did as inspirational for woman during this time; the late 1800s, however she was written to be the extreme, proven by the many men she entangled herself with outside of her marriage. I am not confounded by the prospect of moving outside of a marriage when there is no love involved, being a reader however, I cannot help but see the way she goes about this as unnecessarily hurtful to the people around her. I would hope that there would be other possibilities or ways that she could free herself of her marriage before her love story with Robert and her lust with Lycée Arobin, both betraying the other. During the time this was written, the controversiality possessed in this novel was necessary to create an impact on the standards of marriage during this time.

The novel written by Kate Chopin (1899) reminded me of Pygmalion (1912), because of the like protagonists and the concept of middle class morality. Both Mrs. Pontellier (Edna) and Ms. Doolittle (Eliza) are constricted by the society which they live in. Eliza Doolittle coming from the lower class requests language lessons, and eventually over succeeds these language lessons becoming that of royalty in the way she speaks. “You think I like you to say that. But I haven’t forgot what you said a minute ago; and I won’t be coaxed round as if I was a baby or a puppy. If I can’t have kindness, I’ll have independence” (Shaw p. 70). These words spoken from Eliza Doolittle when Higgins tells her she can marry a prince really rung a bell for me, because this is exactly the predicament that Edna ended up in. She married a rich man which she lacks any form of love for. Eliza and Edna are two sides of the same coin, except Edna is married and Eliza is free of marriage.

All in all, I enjoyed analyzing the novel: The Awakening, but the pacing was slow and the descriptions were tedious. The novel has also lost some amount of relevance because of the feminist movements that are currently happening and the rate of divorces spiking. That said, there is still situations like this still happening.

“The Awakening”: a woman breaking out of the sexist norms that society has set for her

After finishing “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, the reader is left with a lot to think about. For me I was stuck on the idea of whether Edna was a good mother. She would neglect her children and family, but never to the point that she was an absent mother, but then again the book ended with Edna drowning herself, leaving her children motherless. However in my interpretation Chopin wasn’t trying to illustrate a bad mother who was also generally turned into a bad woman because she didn’t want to fit into her societal normal anymore. For me Chopin was trying to show the mental struggle and power a woman needs to get out of her societal norm of the “American Dream” or the idea that a wife is solely responsible for taking care of home and children.

This version of how Edna is depicted I think was made popular by the feminists that discovered Chopin’s work and brought light to it. This story in particular as I interpret it shows a woman breaking out of the sexist norms that society has set for her, and that being a difficult tasks fails under the stress of it all. To conclude I think that “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin was possibly something of a real life story she has witnessed because women of her time couldn’t break these sexist norms. Looking back on this story however we can get an idea of the struggles women silently had because of societies sexist rules and norms.

The Awakening PR

The Awakening by Kate Chopin is one of my least favourite pieces of literature that we have studied this year. I had trouble reading it and kept getting lost and having to reread passages. The actual plot of the book is not the boring part. It is the English that was spoken and how it was spoken, and how there is too much narration and description rather than dialogue and conversation.

Kate Chopin does a great job of representing a whole group of people in the character Edna. This also made the story more interesting as it added a plot. In the 1800s women were not leaders of their families and basically took a “motherly” role and took care of the children. Edna, after realizing that she was in love with someone else started to find out who she really was. This made the book more fun to read as she was always breaking societal rules, such as infidelity.

Mr. Pontellier was thought to be the perfect husband by almost every character in the book. I never really liked his character. He, like Torvald from A Dolls House and Mr. Higgins from Pygmalion is ignorant. He tries to do all these nice things like buying her gifts, but he doesn’t really know what she wants out of him. He does not treat her as his wife, he treats her as his property. There are faults to both Mr. Pontellier and Edna that could easily be fixed with a simple conversation.

I do not think Edna has the right to cheat on her husband, especially with two different people. I understand that divorce was not really an option in this time, but she could have tried to tell him how she was feeling.

We can tell that Edna was never really free being married to Mr. Pontellier. “I am no longer one of Mr. Pontellier’s possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where I choose” (p. 128). Robert brings her joy which never seems to happen when she is with Mr. Pontellier. “The sentiment which she entertained for Robert in no way resembled that which she felt for her husband, or had ever felt, or ever expected to feel” (p. 55). She should be telling Mr. Pontellier how she feels because her life to me begins to feel wasted. She knows that Robert makes her feel happier. Even the description about her moving to a different house brought her more freedom which shows how she was trapped with Mr. Pontellier and wanted to escape.

In conclusion I did not really like this novel but Kate Chopin does a good job making the reader make judgments on the characters and what they could have done in different situations.

 

 

Personal Response to The Awakening (Kate Chopin)

I’m not quite sure what to think about this one. Kate Chopin’s novel, entitled The Awakening, is generally considered her magnum opus, as well as what incited the end of her writing career as a result of it’s “scandalous” message.  Naturally, it should be fun to examine.

The thing that struck me with the most force and frequency was the writing style and structure. There’s a lot of description in this story, and as a result reading it can often feel like a chore. As a direct result of this, The Awakening is extremely slow paced. In addition, the story’s narrative structure is a little bit odd. The best adjective I can use to describe it is “meandering.” In the moment, very few events have a lasting impact on future events; the characters just jump from one location to the next, dialogue is said, people and things are described, Edna (the protagonist) reacts, moving on. Combined with the lack of rising action, falling action, or any real climactic event, the reading experience in general feels rather flat. The way I say this makes it sound like a detriment, but while it may have negatively affected my enjoyment of the story, it definitely serves a purpose. The Awakening is a story-driven character study, and choses to express its ideas through a slice of life format. Chopin is, through these largely disconnected events, showing us Edna’s gradual journey towards self-actualization. Each event doesn’t necessarily contribute to the story, but together, they create a well-developed character arc for the protagonist.

In class discussions, the topic of Edna’s morality was frequently brought up. These were discussions that I didn’t often participate in, as my own thoughts on this topic were not really fully formed, and as of right now, they still aren’t. My current interpretation is that Edna is written as a flawed, fallible character, with goals and desires that conflict with the world around her, rather than an objectively “bad” or “good” person. Weather this was an active decision on the author’s part, I’m not sure, but it certainly helps Edna feel like a real person, with real thoughts and emotions. The parts of the story in the middle and end when Edna began exercising her agency were easily the most enjoyable scenes in the entire book for that very reason.

Pygmalion Personal Response

I quite enjoyed reading the story of Pygmalion for a very simple reason, the way Higgins expressed himself to everyone. After hearing a lot of others’ opinions on how they believe Higgins is rude, self-absorbed, and self-righteous because of the way he talks to people however I disagree.

 

Of course, I must admit to the fact that he not only uses a tone and unusual language filter in comparison with what is acceptable by today’s standards but to those not paying close attention is showing disrespect. However, I believe it’s much deeper than that. At first when Higgins addressed Eliza, I also perceived him to be rather rude and thought of himself better than her. Although it is still very possible that Higgins believed he was better it seems he was not intentionally being offensive later throughout the play it turns out he articulates himself in the same manner to his mother and everyone else. To me portraying that it is a path of honesty and truthfulness. He does not intend to hurt anyone rather he attempts to be direct or as some might say “blunt” which to me is a fascinating characteristic.

 

Furthermore, it seemed Higgins was purposefully trying to show everyone that he did not care what happened to Eliza, that it was just a bet and an experiment. Burt personally I do not believe that was the truth. I believe he did actually begin to care for her in great amounts, and that he was to shallow to actually show this until Eliza confronted him about the truth

 

Evidently it seemed Pickering inhabited some similar habits in ways of communication. To me it seems as though sub consciously over the duration of the story he increasingly mimicked Higgins’s behaviors.

 

Overall it was very interesting play to read as it went very into detail of the characteristics of each individual and what they truly want to portray of themselves which was quite interesting to me.

Pygmalion Personal Response

Pygmalion, the original was interesting, minutely.  The remake by George B. Shaw was very entertaining and interesting.  I liked the change from the easily grasped statue and sculptor, to the less tangible language teacher and student.  It is more real, and removes the odd, deity pities mortal situation.  Instead of a wanting sculptor and a marble statue made living flesh, the characters of George B. Shaw’s version of Pygmalion are more human, with flaws.  Higgins being the somewhat childish and fully self-absorbed.  He constantly produces entreating remarks with no consideration, and Eliza the thin-skinned common flower girl.  I enjoy the addition of another lover to make the triangle, Freddy, the lovestruck lunkhead.

The change from the book to the movie is interesting to see, but I think I should have read the book before watching the movie, the biggest change the movie gave was the party scene, which added a bit of suspense and allowed our characters to be fleshed out a little more, particularly Higgins with the introduction of an old student of his, who is also the source of suspense.

For some reason I keep  looking for a message in the old Greek version of the story.  I can never find one.

Response to “The Darling”_Armaan

In “The Darling” by Anton Chekhov, people desire the circus and don’t desire theatre. “The public wants a circus, a lot of nonsense, a lot of stuff.” (p. 1). It seems that while Kukin is ranting about what the public wants and how terrible the weather is his words also open us up to the idea of how people are not very accepting of certain things, even without giving them a chance. Whether it be the theatre or certain people the public often wants what is fun. Therefore they prefer a fun circus compared to a more serious theatrical performance. Do we have a habit of following the public norm and decide that some things are more entertaining than others? 

Olenka’s habit of always loving somebody is the reason for her unhappiness. “She couldn’t get on without loving somebody…” (p. 2). Loving someone, caring about them, does that not bring us happiness? Olenka does not like being alone, she needs someone with her. Someone who she can give her love and listen to. If she is alone she has no one to love, she doesn’t realize that she has herself to love. And due to this she always ends up in a miserable state. Why does Olenka suffer? Is she to blame for her loss and sorrow? The story seems to follow a cycle of Olenka meeting, someone, falling in love with them (feeling content), then losing that person (feeling unhappy). Why did Chekhov choose to orient the story this way? Why did he make it so that Olenka could rarely find happiness and struggle to move past her situation of being alone? If Olenka realized that she had herself, that she should take care of herself is beginning to love others then maybe she would have been happier in life. 

Olenka loves too easily. Olenka being called “Darling” was a simple way for people to tell Olenka they loved her. 

“Looking at her rosy cheeks, at her soft white neck… the good naive smile… the lady visitors, in the middle of conversation, would suddenly grasp her hand and exclaim, ‘You darling!’ in a burst of delight” (p. 2). 

When people would call her “darling” because of her kindness and “contentment” it would make her believe that she was being loved and that she could love these people too (p. 3). Is Olenka deserving of love? She seeks it throughout the entirety of the story and finds it multiple times. Even with finding it, she struggles to keep it. Her habit of not being able to live without loving someone is not good for her. It continuously leads to her sorrow. She would be better off accepting loss and understanding that it takes time to love someone. 

“The Darling” Commentary by Trevor

Olenka is a simplified character whose only personality trait is that she needs emotional gratification. Page 3, “she said with perfect sincerety”. When in a loving relationship, she acts blissfully and does not find any fault in her situation. Her position is black and white, in a relationship she is perfectly happy, however when alone she is completely sad.

This simplification of Olenka speaks into the fear and depravity of love and idea of dying alone. Reducing Olenka’s character to joy and despair gives the idea of life being pure joy or despair, based on relationship status. When in the relationship, Olenka is singularly content with her partner, an unparalleled relationship to that of any other. This exclusivity of emotional connection also speaks to the fleetingness and irreplaceable sense of love.

Therefore, “The Darling” is a disturbing recount of the fated destruction of Olenka’s wellbeing, how she her whole life grapples against her sense of desperation.

“The Darling” by Anton Chekhov

“The Darling,” written by Mr. Chekhov, focuses on Olenka, our main protagonist, whose emotional state is a constant balance of good and evil. She is a woman who “was always loving somebody. She couldn’t get on without loving somebody.” She was often described as a “quiet, kind-hearted, compassionate girl, with a soft gentle way about her. And she makes a very healthy, wholesome impression”. After evaluating her persona, we understand that Olenka is a very vulnerable person who seems to have attachment issues, therefore, causing her innate ability to not function without loving someone.

Further, into the piece, we discover just how vulnerable Olenka is, as she had finally given her love to one singular person. She was married, but soon after received the news; “Ivan Petrovich died suddenly to-day. Awaiting propt orders for wuneral Tuesday.” The tone one could imagine would be quite deep and slow as if it were someone verbally telling her of Ivan’s passing. We go into further depth about her pain, when she gets home, she just “[throws] herself on her bed and broke into such loud sobbing that she could be heard in the street and in the neighbouring yards.”

This piece conveys a heavily emotional individual who against all odds, and all the pain demonstrates great strength through their ability to express their feelings. Olenka is a woman who lives in a misogynistic world. Olenka proves herself to be just as strong as the men and is what some could perceive as a great wife and a beautiful woman.

We can see the extent of her emotional ‘obedience’ when noting how “Her husband’s opinions were all hers. If he thought the room was too hot, she thought so too. If he thought business was dull, she thought business was dull.” She becomes a ‘slave’ to her lover’s mind, forgetting all her own thoughts and abilities to seld-manage. Continuously allowing herself to be overtaken by the force and passion of what she believed to be love.

We can begin to argue that the title “The Darling” isn’t actually referring to Olenka. In fact, it is referring to her love and how she uses it to smother someone else in hopes of finding meaning, a purpose in love. If we were to address her love as “the darling”, then we could suggest that the darling was too powerful, that she enamoured everyone she touched. She overwhelmed them with a joyous feeling of comfort and companionship. “The darling” aka ‘her love’ was one of the most powerful, yet uncontrollable sources in the world.

Personal Response to “The Darling”

Anton Chekhov develops Olenka’s character through events reoccurring throughout her life. In the beginning of the story, we see Olanka as a young prosperous woman who falls in love with Kukin, A man who seems quite sporadic, dramatic, and sarcastic as he cannot stop highlighting his “heavy losses every day!” (p,1) which seem to convey him as a kind of perfectionist who’s constantly chasing something intangible. despite this “she fell in love with him” (P, 1) this seems to contradict the description of Olanka as “she was a quiet, kind-hearted, compassionate girl, with a soft gentle way about her.” (p,2) we learn that Olanka has had a hard life as she has lost both her dad and mom and is alone in the world, yet the only thing she longs for is to care for someone as “she always loved someone body” (P,2) this may come to surprise to some people because the author including that both off her parents have passed away may convey that Olanka may not be stable and makes it hard for readers to dislike her character.

We learn that Olanka seems to depend on the one factor in her life is being able to love and care for somebody. It was to the extent that “she could not exist a single year without an attachment,” (p,7) which to the reader may come off as Olanka being a player with low morals jumping from one relationship to the next without trying to step back and understand what she was looking for. This raises the question of if Olanka loves these people she is marrying for who they are or if she loves the feeling of caring for someone. We find that in these relationships she would conform to whatever opinion her partner had, as it says” her husbands’ opinions were all hers. If he thought the room was too hot she thought so too.” This seems to limit her independence as a person constantly agreeing with whatever another person says and never having her own opinion about subjects. But this becomes very clear and understandable as to why she was doing this, with every husband she has had she had never done anything wrong to make a reason as to why the marriage should end it always ended because of some tragedy. This makes the reader have sympathy for Olanka and again hard to dislike her. We may want her to be herself and not conform to the opinions of her husbands, but Olanka’s intentions are so focused on only wanting to care and love somebody that her opinions are put second. The result of this can be shown when the surgeon says “didn’t I ask you not to talk about what you don’t understand? When we doctors discuss things” This makes the reader want Olanka to retaliate and stand up for herself, but we also have to understand where the intentions are after repetitively losing people in her life.

Olanka seems to only know how to be someone’s partner or “Darling” and does not know herself. Any person can play that role. Understanding yourself should be the number one priority but it is hard to criticize Olanka with how hard her life has been and how positive she seems to be when she is caring for someone, we see this at the end of the book when she’s caring for Sasha who is not related to her in any way, yet she stays with him. This makes it hard for us to criticize her lifestyle but instead makes us want to route for her to live happily.

WDolan_Response_To_”The_Darling

Personal Response to “The Darling”

 

Chekhov creates a submissive character who is seemingly anti-feminist. When I say anti-feminist, I mean she feels she needs a man to rely on, in order to make decisions or opinions. Chekhov appears to use elements of satire to expose the anti-feminist society in effect when the story was written.

 

While this humorous story is engaging, I couldn’t avoid getting annoyed with Olga Semyonovna’s inability to form an opinion. Specifically about people she is in love with. It appears she falls in love with different individuals frequently, causing me to think she is incapable of being confident about her own opinions and expressing her own identity. However, I reminded myself that this story appears to expose her anti-feminist personality through satire, exposing how she “needs” a man to make decisions. Her “personality” reminds me of the inconsistent weather introduced in the first paragraph. “It was hot, the flies were nagging and teasing…”(ll. 2-3). This implies it is summer. “Dark rain clouds were gathering from the east , wafting a breath of moisture every now and then” (ll. 3-4). When I read about “Dark rain clouds”, I automatically think of a cold and wet environment such as Victoria or Moscow, Russia. These two phrases seemingly contradict each other. This is similar to how Olga’s love for a specific individual is contradicted by her interest in different people (specifically men).

 

The repetition of the phrase(s) “You darling!” or “The darling!” was frustratingly overused. However, the author uses imagery, sound, tone, diction, etc. as they have a purpose in the story. In my opinion, the author is using repetition of the phrase as satire to expose her need to rely on men to form decisions. However, there could be a deeper meaning I may not have found yet, so I look forward to reading this story again, to further develop an understanding of its meaning, and discovering why the author chose to write this story.

 

Personal Response/Analysis to “The Darling”

In “The Darling”, Anton Chekhov reveals Olenka’s malleability, through the contrast of her two husbands. At the start of this story, we are introduced to Kukin: the pessimistic, eccentric, spiteful character whom Olenka marries. He is a man who makes lengthy, dramatic speeches about the horrors of rain, the nature of mankind, and the state of the general public (p. 1). Through the use of this speech, he seems incredibly overbearing. And yet, Olenka falls in love with him. As she does so, she adopts his opinions about humanity, she starts loving the theater as he does, and she starts repeating his ideas (p. 3). When he dies, she grieves with intense sobbing and painful feelings of abandonment. However, soon after his passing, we are introduced to Vasily Pustovalov. Pustovalov serves as Kukin’s foil, in appearance, profession, and nature. As opposed to Kukin, who is “short [and] gaunt, with a yellow face, and curly hair . . . and a thin tenor voice” (pp. 1-2), Pustovalov seems healthy, with a “sedate voice” and a “dark beard” (p. 4). Furthermore, Pustovalov is the manager of a lumber yard, which often involves outdoor, physical work. This contrasts to Kukin, who works inside a theater, and is visibly ill. Finally, Pustovalov’s character seems much more grounded, steady, and sympathetic, which contrasts to Chekhov’s pessimism and peculiarity. Despite the vast differences between these two men, Olenka falls in love with them both. Like she did with Kukin, she adopts Pustovalov’s opinions and learns about his profession. Beyond that, she stops enjoying the theater, since Pustovalov does not care for it. Olenka entirely changes herself when she’s with these different characters, which shows how malleable she is. To her, it does not matter whether she’s with a spiteful theater-worker like Kukin, or a grounded lumber-worker like Pustovalov. Either way, she loves them, and starts acting like them. Through Chekhov’s contrast of these two characters, he reveals how Olenka embodies her husbands’ personalities, rather than forming her own.

Due to Chekhov’s characterization of her, Olenka seems more like a caricature than a real person. Just like a caricature, she is exaggerated in many areas, yet superficial in others. Throughout “The Darling”, Chekhov repeats that Olenka is a “kind-hearted” (p. 2) girl, with “rosy cheeks” (p. 2) and a “naive smile” (p. 2). Through her interactions with men, she is portrayed as innocent, angelic, gullible, and loving. Beyond that, in both the title and contents of this story, she is referred to as a “darling”, in a condescending manner. People, including the readers, see her as someone to pity and patronize. Thus, we start viewing her as an idea, rather than a real person. Due to her lack of individual ideas, it is hard for us to truly get a sense of Olenka’s personality. We see that she deeply feels emotions of joy, when she gets married; love, when she interacts with her husbands and Sasha; and sadness, when she loses her loves. However, emotions are really all we get from her. As she admits, she has “the same emptiness in her heart and brain as in her yard” (p. 8). For these reasons, reading this piece was somewhat puzzling for me. I can empathize with her feelings of strong emotion, but I cannot comprehend her lack of opinions. This largely contributes to her caricatural essence; she fundamentally lacks an individual identity, which makes her seem superficial. Chekhov has created this effect using a collection of characterizing details, which work together harmoniously. Overall, I think he had done an excellent job of creating an intriguing, somewhat relatable, and somewhat frustrating caricature.

Personal Response/Analysis to “The Darling”

Anton Chekhov’s short story The Darling characterizes the main character, Olenka through reoccurring events with substituted details. As the story progresses, readers understand Olenka to be a complex character; she is loving, lonely, and pitiful at the same time, so that we cannot completely like or dislike her.

Both Olenka from The Darling and Marya from In the Cart are lonely characters, as they are both “fatherless and motherless, all alone in the world” (p. 7). Despite that, Marya and Olenka seem to have completely different personalities. While Marya chooses to feel indifferent towards the (only) potential love-interest, Olenka “couldn’t get on without loving somebody” (p. 2), and attaches to the first person she could find. While Marya acknowledges the attractiveness of Hanov, her independency and pride makes it impossible for her to attach to him. Olenka is the complete opposite; without loving someone else, she “no longer (hold) any opinions” (p. 8) and her life becomes tasteless.

Olenka is a blank canvas, waiting to be painted on. She is characterized as “quiet, kind-hearted, compassionate…” and has “a soft gentle way about her” (p. 2). This and the fact that she is parentless makes it difficult for readers to completely dislike her. Furthermore, Chekhov hints that Olenka has been “abandoned” by others (her “sick father,” her “aunt,” and her “French teacher” (p.2)) before the story even started. Readers can assume that all her previous relationships ended with separation. Perhaps that’s why Olenka doesn’t have her own life; she clings onto someone in hopes of not losing them. This is pathetic, but understandable.

What struck me as sad was that Olenka never did anything wrong that caused her relationships to end. Her two previous husbands died from reasons she could not control. She was a boring but kind and caring wife. One could say she is a victim of bad luck. However, unlike Marya from “In the Cart,” Olenka doesn’t seem to be in financial trouble; she even inherited a mansion from her parents. Any other character could live a decent life in this setting. However, Olenka only knows how to be someone else’s darling, and does not know herself. She is a character that could be anyone’s character; just not her own. Yet there is not much use in criticizing her, as Chekhov has made her life just as complex as ours in a story of such a short length.

Personal Response to Pygmalion

Pygmalion

I kind of enjoyed reading this story, but there were also times where I didn’t like it as well. For example the way Higgins talked to everyone kinda of made me feel as if he saw himself as someone who is better then everyone else, as well as not knowing he’s offending people at times without even knowing he is, the same goes for Cornell Pickering. I also feel as if they have no filter on how to talk to people and knowing what they are saying. Higgins doesn’t change how he talks for anyone not even his own mother, his mother has to tell him when he is being rude or says something he’s not supposed to.

Also while reading this I felt bad for Eliza because Higgins and Pickering only saw Eliza as a bet and not as a human being, but rather a project. Not only that but this story made me think and wonder why people have to change who they are and how they talk to get a job, or anything else in life. Eliza said that she wanted to be a flower girl in a shop but couldn’t be not only because of the way she looks, but also because of the way she talks as well. This then causes Eliza to go to Higgins to help her change the way she talks just to get a job.

This book has also made me release that even if you don’t have much, if you work hard enough and push through all the troubles that come across your path, you can achieve what you want. I had released this when reading about Eliza and her determination to be a Flower girl in shop, evening if that ment she had to put up with a rude and openly honest man to do so. Having gone through with all of that she had become a lady and accomplished becoming a lady and could now work in a flower shop. This had made me feel that if I believe and really want something with enough determination I can accomplish it, just like Eliza had with wanting to be a girl in the flower shop.

Overall though I had enjoyed this book and would recommend it to my family and friends who haven’t heard of or read this book before. Minus the things I had just said it was a very interesting book to me, and had also made me released something’s as well.

Pygmalion Personal Response

Pygmalion by Shaw George Benard was a provoking play that emphasizes the complexities of human interactions and the interaction between classes. One of the most important lessons Eliza teaches is that if you keep elevating and improving yourself in life, it’s nearly impossible to go back to the way you were. Two things stood out for me in the play: Higgins’s resemblance to Torvald from A Doll’s House and the femininity shown by Shaw among the different social classes.

I had many mixed emotions about the characters in the play, specifically Higgins. Though he was a selfish, arrogant, prideful man, and I didn’t like how he interacted with Eliza, I felt bad for him in the same way that I was left wondering what would happen to Torvald and his kids when Nora just left. Just the way Torvald had provided everything to Nora, he did the same with Eliza. He gave her everything from a house, clothes, and food and made her a beautiful lady accepted into society. However, like Torvald, even after giving her everything, he didn’t give her respect as a person. But instead, he looked at her as if she was his creation and had to reach his perfecting expectations. Higgins did not bother to even take a second to recognize Eliza but rather made her feel like she was no use to anyone. He Higgins tells Mrs. Pearce that Eliza is “no use to anyone but me.” This shows how he views Eliza as a lesser being with no feelings.

Pygmalion is an excellent example of feminist criticism in literature. Male domination over females is apparent throughout the play. Shaw portrayed how being a lady impacted how you were regarded throughout the Victorian era. Women were expected to act in a certain way–the stereotypical lady-like way, where some women have to work, and others don’t. This is evident in the treatment of the flower girl when she interacts with the daughter and mother in act 1. The daughter looked down upon her, and when her mother was giving her money for the ruined flowers, she stated
“Make her give you the change.”
This ill-treatment can be inferred because of the flower girl’s speech and appearance. However, the second time they meet again, they meet Eliza, a beautiful, fair woman who has excellent speech, is listened to and treated nicely.

Shaw demonstrates femininity among the different social classes through many charters who had specific roles and boundaries. He also shows the fixed roles all these women had: Eliza, the poor flower girl; Ms. Pierce, the house help; and Ms. Higgins, an upper-class lady who had a home and raised her family. He shows through three characters that these fixed roles and specific definitions of femininity are artificial. Through the transformed Eliza, there is a new vision of a woman. A woman who is educated, career-minded, and self-reliant.

Altogether, it was an interesting play to read and observe how much appearances in the Victorian time meant and how people were meant to act in their specific social class. Eliza is a woman who is now considered a fair lady and not just a flower girl to bring up her status in society. After declaring her independence to Higgins, she is now free and an independent woman. However, now that her outer appearance has changed, I was left with her question: Is she really better off?

Pygmalion Personal Response

In the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw I noticed how the author makes Higgins an apathetic person showing how he refers to Eliza as if she is an object with no feelings, useful and something that they can make advantage of her.

During the play, we see how from Higgins and Eliza meeting each other along the street, to Higgins teaching Eliza to be a lady as she wanted to. However, their relationship is something peculiar as Higgins treats Eliza as an object. When Eliza was a flower lady, Higgins treated her with no respect for being from the lower class.   She arrived to his house to ask him for English classes, during this discussion, Higgins is prejudicing Eliza for being poor:

PICKERING: Does it occur to you, Higgins, that the girl has feelings?

HIGGINS (looking critically at her): Oh no, I dont think so. Not any feelings that we need bother about. Have you Eliza?

(p.18)

No matter that Eliza asked polite for classes, Higgins looked down at her not caring about her feelings.

Later on the book, after the argument between Higgins and Eliza because she feels invisible for Higgins and Pickering and they just care about their success and that the bet is over. Eliza leaves the house without telling Higgins and Pickering. They called the police not knowing she was with Mrs. Higgins. Higgins just wanted to find her because she is useful for his daily tasks. Higgins and Pickering went with Mrs. Higgins to talk about it:

PICKERING: The inspector made a lot of difficulties. I really think he suspected us of some improper purpose.

MRS HIGGINS: Well, of course he did. What right have you to go to the police and give the girl’s name as she were a thief, or a lost umbrella, or something? Really!

(p.56)

Eliza’s purpose for the argument was for Higgins to realize how he was hurting her feelings. Higgins thought of her as a selfish girl. And when she disappeared, Higgins just wanted her back because she is useful for his tasks. He was not even planning to apologize. The author shows in Mrs. Higgins’ reaction an affirmation of Higgins’ behavior towards Eliza.

Near the end of the play, Eliza tells Higgins that she could marry Freddy. But Higgins disagree about that:

HIGGINS: Can he make anything of you? Thats the point

LIZA: Perhaps I could make something of him. But I never thought of us making anything og one another; and you never think of anything else. I only want to be normal.

(p.69)

The author shows us that Eliza is reaffirming that he only takes advantage of people.  And she just wants to be an educated lady.

The different scenarios that the author makes creates the personality of Higgins. Showing us how apathetic he is by referring to Eliza as an object no matter her social status. I do not like the personality of Higgins because people need to learn to care about others’ feelings and to respect them. However, Higgins makes the play more interesting and it made me want to read more.

I really liked the “well-made play” in this play. It gives the play a twist. It also allows the reader to think about what could have happened before and after the time that the play is taking place. I liked how in a short play there can be lots of changes of circumstances.

 

Pygmalion PR

The play Pygmalion by Geroge B Shaw is set in the early 20th century, at the end of the Victorian period in England. Shaw uses language to identify the strict hierarchy that is portrayed in the play. 

Higgins did not try to get to know her and got straight into tutoring Eliza on manners and speech. In act IV, Higgins is proud that his tutoring was successful. Higgins and Pickering chats about how the experiment is getting “rather boring” knowing that Eliza is in the same room with them. In this scene it is clear that Higgins views her as an experiment and does not take her feelings into account. Higgins is so focused on his academic interests that he lacks empathy for not only Eliza but others too. As the play gets near the end, Eliza notices that Higgins is no more than a person who only cares about his success. His arrogance and his impoliteness result in Eliza growing a strong hatred towards Higgings. I think watching the play made it easier for me to see the strong dislike that is portrayed in the book. It seemed like Eliza was going through an emotional rollercoaster in Act V when she threw the slipper at Higgings out of rage but moments later decided to pick up the ring from the stove.  Eliza is not afraid to stand up for herself even though it is against a person who is in a higher class, Eliza makes sure her feelings and opinions are communicated thoroughly but at the same time somewhat takes Higgings’s feelings into consideration. 

Pickering was one of the few characters who were kind to Eliza despite her class, the way she spoke and her manners. Pickering referred to her as Ms.Doolittle instead of Eliza which shows respect and kindness. Pickering and Higgins had very different personalities whilst being good friends was surprising to me as they never had an argument.

I liked how Shaw left the play somewhat ambiguous as to whether or not Eliza opens her flower shop or whom she marries. I personally didn’t like how the play left the ending a mystery, although I think I prefer this over a cliche romance novel ending.  

 

Personal Response to Pygmalion

After reading Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, the ending immediately grasps my attention. The end of the play leaves us with numerous scenarios and different endings. In particular I enjoy how we are able to decide what happens at the end and ultimately what happens to Eliza. This ending allows us to imagine her happy or unhappy ending and what she does with all the new skills she has acquired. This finishing of the play stood out to me because unlike other plays where there is often a happy ending, we see that in Pygmalion the ending is ambiguous. The effect this has on the reader is that it creates a sense of mystery and gives the audience something to ponder after the play is over. It also makes us question whether or not it was all worth it in the end. All of the effort Eliza put into becoming a lady, did she reach her end goal? Was she able to sell flowers at a flower shop?

The difference in characters between Higgens and Colonel Pickering caught my attention. The two of them working together everyday in efforts to help Eliza become a “lady in a flower shop” and both of them being very good friends is interesting to me as I notice how different their characters are. Higgins is upfront, brutal and often rude, whereas Colonel Pickering was shown to be kind, warmhearted and tender. The drastic differences when they spoke to Eliza was the most evident difference in characters. Colonel Pickering was polite and understanding of Eliza where Huggins was always yelling and picking fights. This made me question how Higgins and Colonel Pickering got along so well if they treated others so differently. We also see the difference in characters when Higgins and Pickering go over to Mrs. Higgins home. Pickering was polite and greeted everybody accordingly while Higgins was away in the corner speaking his mind. This particular duo was interesting to read about and discover how their relationship was despite their differences. 

The character development of Eliza also stood out to me while watching and reading the play. We see that she is introduced as a lower class flower girl with an outrageous and irritating accent. We can see that her sense of manners and her overall attitude did not depict a “lady” or someone in the upper class. With help from Higgins we see that by the end of the play she is transformed into a whole other person, but at what cost? Eliza mentions how she was happy selling flowers on the street and she mentions how she wished they had never helped her. We do not get to truly know if Eliza is happy with the transformation and if she ever became that lady in the flower shop. Her character starts off constantly complaining and very impatient and whiny but as the play goes on she develops into this confident, polite, and ladylike woman. 

 

Pygmalion PR Sergio Camarillo

Pygmalion was definitely an interesting play. Throughout it I was really attentive to the way it was representing and building up the myth of the same name. Yet when it was nearing the end I was skeptical because the “sculptor” who was Higgins In this case, wasn’t falling in love with her and didn’t really care for her like the sculptor in the myth did. After finishing the play and seeing that it didn’t really stay true to the myth, I began to fit some pieces as to the closest thing to the myth.

In my opinion I think that there was love in the relationship between Higgins and Eliza, just not the emotional kind. It was Higgins’ self love and control and over Eliza. I represent it as his love for the thing he created, the change in Eliza and seeing her act like he taught her to made him love the idea that he was this sculptor and that he had control of her.

Eliza mentions this when she is arguing with him and says that she was treated like a slave in that house. She constantly ran errands and although she was not a maid, she was the next best thing to Higgins. It was the control he started to have over her by ordering and being rude to her without any consequences. At the end he is so confident in his control that he knows that Eliza will return.

Although the play doesn’t give a concrete answer, I think she didn’t go back to the house. At that moment the sculpture was done and she became alive. She had her free will now and she wasn’t going to waste it on Higgins, but to go out as a changed person who would start her new life. It also gives a more “satisfying” end than the original myth, as some people criticized that the sculpture had no free will and was only made to love even though she just came to life.  Eliza has her choice and based on her standing up to Higgins more and more,  think she finally took it.

Pygmalion Personal Response

Reading Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw gives me a contradictory feeling towards the main characters, Higgin and Eliza. I really enjoyed the form of a well-made play in Pygmalion; the rising action of Higgins creating his “Galatea” through Eliza was exciting, and the climax was unexpected. 

Higgins is a self-centred, narcissistic, cold-hearted man by the way he treats the people around him. He does not care about anyone but himself, and whenever people point out his mistakes, he would just make up excuses or even blame it on others. At the start of the play, he is portrayed as the notetaker; he observes people not as real human beings but as objects that help him with his studies; it suggests that everything to Higgins is nothing but an experiment, and he is unable to show compassion towards people. Of course, Eliza is also a victim of Higgins’ experiment, “It’s the most absorbing experiment I ever tackled. She regularly fills our lives up: doesn’t she, Pick?” (P.43) This indicates that Higgins is only helping Eliza to fulfill his boredom. 

Even though Higgins is presented as a cold-hearted monster, George Bernard Shaw creates Higgins in a way that makes audiences have conflicting emotions toward him by being generous towards Eliza. On the surface, Higgins did not do any wrong to Eliza, and he teaches her how to become a lady as she asked. He cultures her, buys her new clothes and even allows Eliza to stay at his place. Higgins has never asked for anything in return. It is not Higgins’ fault for Eliza being attached to him emotionally. Similar to Torvald in A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, both characters are viewed as antagonists in the beginning, but as the story develops, we get to learn more about the characters and acknowledge that both characters are flawed like we are all and there isn’t a real ‘antagonist.’ 

People argue that this play displays male chauvinism through Higgins. However, I do not entirely agree. Higgins did not treat Eliza poorly just because she was a woman or in a lower class. Multiple pieces of evidence show that Higgins treats people the same regardless of their gender or social class; for example, he doesn’t seem to care about Mrs. Eysnford Hill on the at-homes day and even forgets about the gentleman at the party. He even says, “About you, not about me. If you come back, I shall treat you just as I have always treated you. I can’t change my nature, and I don’t change my manners. My manners are exactly the same as Colonel Pickering.”(p.66) It is Higgins’ rude and cruel personality that causes his behaviour. Male chauvinism does not seem to be displayed by Higgins.

Eliza is emotionally attached to Higgins, this can be seen in the stage directions and dialogue between characters. For example, after the conflict, she threw away the ring that Higgins gave her but picked it up after he left. After all the cruelty that Eliza has been through, why does she still feel the need to stay? Why does she pick up the ring after she threw it away? There are two possible reasons that she picked up the ring, she either thinks that the ring is valuable and shouldn’t be wasted, or the ring relates to Higgins, and it is a symbol of an emotional bond between them. Mrs. Higgins also states, Mrs. Higgins:

“The girl is naturally rather affectionate, I think. Isn’t she, Mr. Doolittle?” “Just so. She had become attached to you both. She worked very hard for you, Henry! I don’t think you quite realize what anything in the nature of brain work means to a girl like that. Well, it seems that when the great day of trial came, and she did this wonderful thing for you without making a single mistake, you two sat there and never said a word to her, but talked together of how glad you were that it was all over and how you had been bored with the whole thing. And then you were surprised because she threw your slippers at you! I should have thrown the fire-irons at you”(p.60) 

If Eliza is not emotionally attached to Higgins, why would she get so upset if Higgins says he is glad that it is over and does not applaud her after the party? It is heartbreaking for Eliza to know that she is not as important as she thinks she is to Higgins and that Higgins only treats her as his ‘lab rat’. 

 

Pygmalion Personal Response

In Pygmalion George Bernard Shaw presents ideas around social classes and gender using the characteristics of Eliza and Higgins. This is especially evident when it comes to Higgins being childish and Eliza being irritating.

Eliza Doolittle is presented as a low social class flower girl, annoying and asking higher class people for money. Shaw shows her as a person who completely violates the English language. Eliza annoys Higgins, for example when Higgins says “You have caused me to lose my temper: a thing that has hardly ever happened to me before.” (p.53). This quote lets us notice how Eliza has the ability to irritate Higgins, more than most people. Shaw uses Eliza’s character traits to develop readers’ perception of her as annoying and needy. Inturn Shaw develops a relationship between annoyance and low social classes and uses Eliza as a representation of the generalization of the ignorant and poor.

However, Eliza’s nuisance of a character could be related to the way Higgins and Pickering treat her. Since Higgins and Pickering met Eliza, they acted child-like, by making a bet in regards to Eliza’s improvement in language and manners. It’s even pointed out when Mrs. Higgins says “You certainly are a pretty pair of babies, playing with your live doll”. This shows how normal men played with women like they were dolls in the early 1900s.

Shaw’s use of characterization shows how annoying Eliza Doolittle is, and how childlike Higgins and Pickering are. There are likely many reasons why her character is irritating. Possibly the way she’s treated by society, for being a young, lower-class woman with a loud voice and a disgusting impossible-to-understand accent has resulted in her annoying character. Or rather is the perception of her character as annoying caused by these factors. Shaw raises awareness of our own personal biases of character perceptions. Similarly, Higgins and Pickering manipulate a poor young woman, changing her future for a childish bet. This represents the little care men have for woman’s lives.

English PR Pygmalion

Pygmalion is an amazing story on how a street girl with a dreadful accent decided to take english classes so she can become a lady in a flower shop. Professor Higgins decides to accept a challenge in where he is the one bringing Eliza into his house so she can become the lady she so desperately wants to become.

The challenge takes on for months, and as the days go by we can tell that Eliza is picking up very quickly in what Higgins is trying to teach her. As the play moves on, Eliza is ready to start trying to fool people in thinking she is a lady, she even made Freddy fall in love with her. The author creates a lot of descriptive imagery during the play which only makes it more interesting for the reader and more fun.

The play creates a lost of modern socialist ideals in where all women should receive education just like any other man. The play also shows how only rich married women could receive this education. It also shows how women depend on the men, this is shown where Eliza asks Higgins about her role in after her classes are over, he mentions that she should find a very rich man and marry him.

The author arrises different questions, he made me ask myself why is education so important? Why is gender equality important? How did we achieve educational equality? Overall, I really enjoyed the play and I thought that it really makes the reader think about the social problems in society and gender inequality.

Pygmalion Personal Response

Pygmalion by George B. Shaw was one of the most stressful plays that I have read and watched, not only did the old english make it difficult to read, but the accents made it harder to watch.

The story went from being slow to fast in a heart beat. First, the introduction of the characters felt unnecessarily long, when they were fighting about who was going to pay and when her dad came over and started negotiating it was also unnecessarily long. The part that needed to be the longest was when they were teaching her how to speak and how to pronounce certain letters, but, they never showed it. The party, the long awaited party, was not even on the book, they had to added to the movie.

The end is anticlimactic, because she finally talked back to them after being through months of abuse, she finally “stood up”, if that’s what you even call it. Out of all of the book we’ve read, this one is the one that made me angrier because of the fact that this poor woman was taken advantage of, used and disposed like an old rag.

When Mr. Pickering and Mr. Higgins were talking after the party in Mr. Higgins’ studio and Eliza was on the corner not being ignored but also not acknowledged, used like a maid they could order around.

I liked that in the end she escaped to Mrs. Higgins’ house, the only place she was treated like an equal and not a stray dog they picked up from the street. Overall I will say this is my least favourite book that we have read all this year.

PR: Pygmalion

The play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw is a more open to interpretation version of a typical romance play. Probably the biggest thing that sets Pygmalion aside from other plays of its time is its non conclusive ending. Unlike the typical or “cheesy” play known as the Well-made Play, Pygmalion ends with a cliffhanger of sorts, except there is no sequel – and there need not be one. Pygmalion ends with a fight between Eliza Doolittle, one of the main characters, who was a poor flower girl that was transformed into a duchess by Henry Higgins, and Higgins himself. In typical Well-made Play fashion, this play would have ended much more pleasantly. Because the whole play revolves around Higgins teaching Eliza to become a “lady”, and because the play is based around the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea, it would be expected that Higgins turns Eliza into his ideal wife, and they get married and live happily ever after. However, this is not the case. Although the ending is left to interpretation, Shaw himself concludes in the epilogue of the play that Eliza and Higgins would never marry, and Eliza instead marries Freddy, a side character from earlier in the play. This may seem like an unsatisfying ending for some, but I however think it raises questions – like what happens to Eliza and Higgins, and how does the “new Eliza” fit into her new social class? Is she accepted? Because of this is more interesting than if the play had ended with Higgins and Eliza marrying like expected.

The hate Eliza developed for Higgins can be seen throughout the play. From the beginning when Higgins called her by “Eliza” whereas Pickering (Higgins’s partner with Eliza’s teaching) referred to her as “Ms. Doolittle”. The difference that is explained at the end of the book for the reason that Eliza dislikes Higgins and not so much Pickering can be summed up to this quote:

Liza: “That’s not true. [Pickering] treats a flower girl as if she was a duchess.”

Higgins: “And I treat a duchess as if she were a flower girl.”

(p. 66)

This contrast between how Pickering and Higgins respect others plays a big role in why Eliza came to despise Higgins.

Although I would have liked Higgins and Eliza to get along in the end, the surprising ending of the big fight was more intriguing and leaves room for the mind to guess what happens next. Of course Shaw comes in during the epilogue clearing some parts of the story up, but having this room to let your mind decide what happens next is one reason why this play was enjoyable to read. Instead of being left with a dry, expected ending, or even a sad one, the reader is left to decide what becomes of Eliza and Higgins. I personally would like to think that Eliza opens up her flower shop and that Higgins and her still eventually have some contact with each other, even whether that means Higgins seeing her in her flower shop.

Overall the play was interesting and not very predictable which made it exciting to read. The occasional witty humour was enjoyable, and so was watching the development of characters, especially Eliza.

Pygmalion

Pygmalion tells the story of a transformation and detachment: it is not the pretty clothes and the andressed accent that make the new Eliza, but the emancipation from her creator.The author plays with the Cinderella motif. He counteracts it ironically and disappoints the common expectations of the audience: his Cinderella does not put on the sacrificial shoe, but instead throws slippers at the mischievous prince.

The author represented a socialist and feminist point of view: language and manners were among the most important class barriers in his time. True personal and economic freedom, in Shaw’s view, could not be achieved by marriage, but only by renouncing typically feminine traits and obligations.

The play raises many pressing social questions: What is the meaning and purpose of education? How can the individual overcome his social determinacy? What price does one pay for uprooting and is it even worth the alienation? What responsibility does the scientist have towards the human research object? And what comes after the experiment?

Pygmalion PR

After reading and watching the movie Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw I found myself asking a lot of questions about the classism and morality of each of the characters. 

I felt like this book works really well at showing how classism was so prevalent at this time and how it still is now. In the book, Higgins immediately treats Eliza like she is worth less than him and is not even worth his time because she is poor and living on the street. As the book carries on and Higgins and Pickering do Eliza’s makeover they still both treat Eliza like she doesn’t matter to them and like they are too good for her, even though they made her look like a lady they still treat her as if she is poor and just their object. Even today most people who are comfortable in life and have money look down on poor people as if they aren’t human and don’t matter as much just because they can’t afford a house, food, or anything else. Higgins also doesn’t have great morality, this is shown with how rude he is when he speaks to Eliza, his mothers guests, and almost everyone else, he treats Eliza like an object and even says she has no feelings. Although Higgins acted this way I do believe that Eliza should have left differently and not have left Higgins and Pickering without even a thank you for everything they did for her.

Overall this is a very good book and movie that allows for a lot more in-depth thoughts about everything going on in the world. 

Pygmalion PR

(This is a bad PR, I wrote this with a headache)

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw Is an odd adaptation of the original Greek myth, and also had amazing character development. The original Greek myth of pygmalion, the sculptor falls in love with his sculpture that he created. In this adaptation I find that it may seem different but actually much more similar than expected. At a glance we can see that professor Higgins makes Eliza a woman, and according to the Greek myth Higgins should fall in love with Eliza but that isn’t what happens in the play. At the end of the play Eliza says to Higgins, “Buy them yourself (p.72) after he requests she pick up a few things while she’s out. This is different from the myth as no love relationship happens however I noticed that Higgins in a way did begin to “love” Eliza(love as in like a friend or family not as a lover). I noticed this when he asked her to be his adopted daughter, “I’ll adopt you as my daughter and settle money on you (p.69).” Although he is in a way using her, the fact that he doesn’t just let her go completely, and instead still wants a connection with her makes me think he has begun to gain feelings towards Eliza(feelings as in for a friend or family). If we look at Eliza at the beginning of the play she is no better than a statue to Higgins however at the end he having some sort of feelings for Eliza symbolizes how Pygmalion falls in love with his sculpture.

This play also has amazing character and development of the characters. All the characters in the play are very interesting and it’s enjoyable to see how they interact with each other. I think my favourite interaction between characters is Henry Higgins and his mother Mrs. Higgins. Henry, who is very egocentric and believes he is extremely smart talks to his mother who isn’t egocentric but is in reality much smarter than Henry. I loved reading the part when Henry and Pickering try and guess the problem that eliza has and Mrs. Higgins responds with, “No, you two infinitely stupid male creatures (p.44).” This was interesting because Henry throughout the play is known as a very intelligent human but seeing him be called stupid by his mother was oth funny and interesting to me. 

The character development in this play is also worth mentioning. I’ve already talked about Higgins feelings for Eliza as the play goes on however Eliza has interesting character development as well. At the beginning of the play Eliza is not submissive at all, and won’t listen without whining and yapping. Throughout the play she begins to help Higgins with his things and does what she is told to do. However near the end of the play she reverts back to being unsubmissive and says her last line which is, Buy them yourself (p.72). This shows how she reverted back to almost her past self of not being controlled and sold. I think one of the main things this play brings up is how women sell themselves in marriage, and when Eliza says that she wont buy Higgins things it shows how she won’t sell herself and she can’t be shaped by the society around her.

Pygmalion Personal Response_Zack

In an everchanging society of humans, stage-plays and the such, as an artform, have attempted to makes viewers question about the way how our society is ran through specific situations in the stories. For example, Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare, has probed the question of what is fairness in an unfair society, through the story of Shylock. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, on the other hand, had asked readers about the division in society. Some important themes are: Language as a barrier of classes and the vast difference between the society back then compares to nowadays.

Shaw’s play has shown us the ugly importance of language in his work, Pygmalion: that the extent to which how a person sounds and how smart they sounds dictate their social class, yet it does not equate to their level of intelligence. Take Higgins for example, he is a well-spoken expert of British accents, which had allowed him to be at a well spot in the hierarchy of British’s society. On the other hand, Eliza, a more rash sounding flower girl, was thought by Higgins, to be stupid, immature because of her accent that is hard to hear. However, Eliza is not even a bit silly, but very aware of her own self-worth, as she has clearly said that she is a good person with the right morals when being ridiculed by Higgins for consulting with him about her lessons with him. Such evidences has shown how one’s own knowledge and awareness need not to be shown through how they speak, but rather in what they actually understand.

On the same matter of language, it is very noticeable how the society back then differs from the one such as today: it was a sadder one (but not exactly a dystopia, per se) in terms of economy. This is prevalent in the tea-talk that Mrs.Higgins had with the Eynsfords: that despite having a good amount of money, they are not the upper-class folks. While it is sad, it is the reality in which they had to live in.

All in all, Pygmalion was an excellent play that tackles a lot about the division in of society and how the environment corresponds with it.

Pygmalion Personal Response

After watching the movie and reading the book Pygmalion I was quite surprised. I had actually watched a newer rendition of the movie three years ago but at the time I didn’t know it was Pygmalion. Previously, I had heard of the tale of Pygmalion, but the movie and book do not feel like the same thing. I understand, from a metaphorical perspective, how Higgins shaped Eliza and turned her into a “lady”, similar to how Pygmalion shaped Galatea. However, I find that there aren’t many other similarities. Overall, I can see how they are both Pygmalion but I don’t think there is a strong enough connection to call them the same thing.

A question that was raised for me when reading and watching was did men share similar moralities and ideas to Higgins? We do not have too many different male opinions in Pygmalion because there aren’t many significant characters in total. One example of a man having somewhat similar ideas was Colonel Pickering, he was intrigued by the idea of the bet and was fully supporting of it. However, he did not share the same morals as Higgins, we can see this when he would openly oppose Higgins insults to Eliza and made sure she was treated right. This is just one example of another man but I was wondering if other men were like this. It also made me think if the way people treated each other depended on their own class, and the class of others.

Something I liked and disliked at the same time was the dialogue between Higgins and Eliza. I didn’t like the constant the verbal abuse from Higgins to Eliza, but I also didn’t like some of Eliza’s noises and annoying proclamations. The part of it that I liked was the development of it. As Eliza became more and more educated she was able to hold her own in their conversations and a was able to withstand some of Higgins verbal jousts. I thought this was very clever, especially as a way to show Eliza’s progression to becoming a “Lady”.

Overall, I enjoyed this book/movie, it was entertaining and delivered a message about outer appearance vs inner personality similar to A Doll’s House. I make this comparison because at the time if you were born into a certain social class that would be your class and no matter what happened you would be seen as that class. However, Eliza’s transformation shows us that it is what’s on the inside that counts. Despite the fact that I don’t think it should be called Pygmalion I would recommend someone watch this, and read if they want but I think in this rare case the movie is better.

Pygmalion

I enjoyed the play Pygmalion by George Shaw, but it was somewhat slow paced. The characters were well written and had distinct personalities which made it interesting for me to read. The questions that were brought to the surface for me when reading the play, is it right for Eliza to leave Mr. Higgins without such a notice after what he did for her, and secondly, does Mr. Higgins overstep his boundaries when she leaves him.

Eliza was in the right to leave as she was paying him as a tutor (through Mr. Pickering), and because Higgins did not own her in any way, it should not be his problem that she left. It does get more complicated when you think about things politely. It was rude for Eliza to leave Higgins without a notice or a “thank you” for how he helped her, because she was the one who came to him and asked him for language lessons. Higgins accepted this and also housed Eliza and fed her for the length of her lessons. No, I do not believe that it was right for Eliza to leave Higgins without saying goodbye or “thank you,” even if she was fuming.

Higgins oversteps his control over Eliza when he sends the police after her to retrieve  Eliza when she leaves. Eliza was only studying under Higgins, which means Higgins has no right to do something as dramatic as sending the police after Eliza. Unlike in the original written by Ovid, which Pygmalion is based off. The reason for Higgins freaking out, was because he believes that he does have ownership of Liza, because he made her into what she is. “She doesn’t belong to him. I paid him five pounds for her.” (v.7) This is Mr. Higgins speaking when he is talking to Mr. Doolittle. He says that Liza belongs to him because of the five pounds Henry gave Doolittle. The reality of this is that Eliza does not belong to Mr. Higgins, and Mr. Doolittle was only trying to make money off rich people like Higgins.

 

Pygmalion PR

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw is one of my more favourite pieces of literature that we have read so far. It was written in the early twentieth century and can be much more easily comprehended than the ancient Greek plays like Odysseus or Antigone. I am more used to the grammar and words used. Watching the play also helped with this as I could see the visual of what the author might be trying to portray.

At the beginning of the play, George Bernard Shaw did a great job of characterizing Eliza as an annoying egocentric flower girl. When reading the first scene, whenever I read Eliza’s line I could almost hear an annoying squeaky voice in my head. She is always creating a big fuss and always wanting the centre of attention. This is especially prevalent in beginning of act 1 when she is freaking out because she is told that a man is taking notes on how she is talking and acting. “I ain’t done nothin wrong by speaking to the gentleman. I’ve a right to sell flowers if I keep off the kerb… I’m a respectable girl…” She kept on whining and screaming and I just wanted her to stop. Watching the play was even worse for this. The voice of the actress and how she was depicting Eliza is exactly how I imagined it to be. She was extremely annoying and always seemed to have to get a word in. Mr. Higgins seems to agree with me on this as he constantly wants her to stop talking and calls her funny names like “a squashed cabbage leaf”. On page 32 Mr. Higgins is fed up with her and says something quite rude but I thought that it was humorous at the same time. “Oh shut up, shut up. Do I look like a policeman?” (p. 5), “A woman who utters such depressing and disgusting sounds has no right to be anywhere – no right to live… and don’t sit there crooning like a bilious pigeon.” This second quotation shows how Mr. Higgins is not the gentleman that he seems to think that he is. He is a rude person. When watching this part of the play I was fed up with how annoying Eliza was acting and I was happy when Mr. Higgins said that line.

This play is based off the Greek myth where Pygmalion creates Galatea, his ideal woman. This is similar to what Mr. Higgins did to Eliza Doolittle. He wanted to turn this flower girl who was not even classified as a “lady” because of her accent and how she acted, into a lady. Throughout the play he changed her whole personality into what he thought was the perfect lady. He ignores that Eliza is a person and is is prioritizing his own ego being one of the best linguists in the United Kingdom. This reminded me of the last book we read A Doll’s House where Torvald was also prioritizing his ego. Both pieces of literature show the stereotype about male egoism.

In conclusion Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw is one of my more favourite pieces of literature because it conveys a strong message while still being entertaining to watch and read.

 

Pygmalion PR

After reading Pygmalion I found myself questioning whether it was morally right for Eliza to have left Higgins without anything in thanks for what he did for her. However, there are very valid points from both sides that make this a really difficult situation. In Higgins’ case, he has essentially created a new and much-improved life for Eliza, he taught Eliza how to speak proper English and how to act like a “lady”, which would help her to obtain a working-class job and no longer have to work selling flowers in the street. Eliza’s future looks much brighter now, but for Eliza, Higgins didn’t want to help her sincerely; it was initially a bet for him to improve her English and “ladylike” manners. When we approach the end of the play Higgins obviously cares about Eliza but his ego wouldn’t let him admit it. This leads to Eliza believing that in reality, she was just a piece in a bet for Higgins, so Eliza running away really makes sense. Why would she want to stay with someone when she has no value to them? It’s hard to come to a conclusion on this.

 

Eliza’s new lover also gives her another reason to leave which creates a lot of anger in Higgins. Freddy and Eliza had been exchanging love letters after they had met at Mrs. Higgins, not only does this help give Eliza confidence to go out into the world, Higgins is obviously angry about this and makes fun of Freddy calling him an idiot. I think that comment was Eliza’s last straw, Higgins was further showing he is a very self-centred person with that comment because anyone else other than his friends would be considered idiots. Additionally, this shows that Higgins doesn’t really care that much about Eliza, he really just wants a sense of ownership over her, which is very similar to Torvald in “A Doll’s House”, a man losing a woman hence losing a relationship that makes him feel powerful. However once again we are met with the fact that Eliza wouldn’t even have the choice of having a middle-class lover if it wasn’t for Higgins, so we are still left with an unanswerable question. What would the morally correct thing to do be for Eliza?

A Doll’s House Personal Response

Throughout the play A Doll’s House by Henrick Ibsen, Ibsen makes it very clear what the role of both Torvald and Nora is. This also shows the gender roles that there were in that time. Ibsen also shows two very different relationships that are a result of having little communication versus a lot of communication. 

Nora and Torvald’s relationship is the first relationship we are introduced to and their relationship is very focused on how they look to other people, their reputation. Torvald always wants them to seem like the perfect couple, mostly for his own reputation, this results in his love towards Nora not being very genuine all of the time. Nora always just listens to Torvald no matter what and never voices that she isn’t happy or doesn’t like what’s going on, until the very end when she really reveals everything and ends up leaving. Nora says that they have not had one serious conversation in their eight years of marriage but, that isn’t only Torvalds fault, she could have started a conversation earlier so they could actually work through it and their children could have both of their parents for their whole childhood. Through this relationship Ibsen shows us that there is  no communication and no listening to each other in this relationship and how much that affects everything. The second relationship in this play is between Kristine and Krogstad, right away they start to talk about their relationship and why it ended, they figured out right away what each of them wanted and listened to each other so that they could make it work. This shows good communication and good listening skills. 

Overall this was a very good play that really makes you think about communication and how important it is in a relationship. 

Personal Response to Things Fall Apart

In Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe uses straightforward phrases, simple diction, and third-person omniscient narration to make the story more compelling. This novel is packed with memorable, potent comments. For instance, Achebe states, “No matter how prosperous a man was, if he was unable to rule his women and his children (and especially his women) he was not really a man” (p. 53). By using such direct phrasing, Achebe is preventing confusion and different interpretations. Moreover, by using understandable diction rather than overly decorated words, he makes his writing very clear. This clarity allows the novel to be accessible to a wide range of people, because the narration is easily understood. In other literary works, like Tess of the D’Urbervilles, we see how complex language and sentence structure can potentially hinder the reading experience. Hardy’s books, for example, are not accessible to younger or less educated audiences. Furthermore, due to the sophisticated narration, the story might get muddled for the readers, which takes away from the impactful story. Therefore, some people may not enjoy reading a novel like Tess as much as one like Things Fall Apart. Beyond his use of clarity, Achebe also uses third-person omniscient narration to help us understand what the different characters are thinking and feeling. In The Color Purple, we are mainly limited to Celie’s perspective of the story, due to the epistolary narration. To contrast, in Things Fall Apart, we are exposed to a variety of perspectives. Though the novel centers around Okonkwo, we see how Nwoye feels about his father (p. 63), how Ekwefi feels when Ezinma is taken (pp. 103-109), and what the colonizing Commissioner thinks about Igbo culture (pp. 208-209). These different points of view give the story more impact. Not only do we see Okonkwo’s reasonings and emotions, but we also see how others react to his actions. Overall, these narrative techniques enhance the emotive, powerful, and important storyline in Things Fall Apart.

As I read Things Fall Apart, one question kept recurring in my mind: What social criticism can I make? My opinions inherently come from a modern, Western lens. In works like A Doll’s House, The Awakening, and Pygmalion, I feel perfectly comfortable criticizing patriarchal society. When I make those critiques, I am condemning the oppression that stems from a semi-modern, Western society. I am censuring my own society, which is rooted in misogyny, racism, colonization, genocide, capitalism, etc. To contrast, Things Fall Apart illustrates a pre-colonial society, and the detrimental effects of colonization. Hence, I feel like making social criticisms would reflect the same, imperialist ideologies that the white colonizers propagated through Igbo culture. At the end of this novel, we are shown how the Commissioner is writing a book called “The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger”, based on his experiences of colonization (pp. 208-209). This perfectly exemplifies how Western culture operates on the imperialist mindset that their society is superior. Furthermore, this quotation demonstrates that the Commissioner, and all other colonizers, view Indigenous tribes as “primitive” groups that must be conquered, fixed, and purified. Instead of highlighting the Igbo values of family, ancestral respect, and tradition, the missionaries criticize other elements of their culture. Therefore, to rephrase my original question, is it right for me to make any social criticisms? In doing so, would I be perpetuating a colonial mindset? Would I be agreeing with the missionaries who brought destruction to Igbo culture? If so, I will gladly limit my social commentary to novels that highlight the oppression caused by Western culture. I believe it is essential to recognize how we contribute to harmful conversations, to keep ourselves in check. Thus, when discussing Things Fall Apart, I think I will primarily focus on the detrimental impacts of colonization on Igbo culture.

A Doll’s House

We find ourselves in a stereotypical middle class household with typical ideologies. Torvald is presented to us as a stereotypical man who possesses a sexist ideology in which the woman is the one to stay in the house to take care of it and to take care of the children while the man is the one that has to work all day to provide an income for the family. Torvald is a middle class man who was recently promoted as the bank’s manager, which means way more money, power and responsibility. Torvald never saw his marriage as a modern marriage is seen nowadays, he saw Nora as a female who had house duties and that couldn’t deal with problems. He thought that she wouldn’t understand them, that is why Nora complained about how they never talk about problems until they reached the bottom of them. At the end, Torvald’s way of thinking led him into losing Nora and having to take care of the kids by himself. 

In the other hand we have Nora who at first seems to be lost into her role as a stereotypical women in the setting, but when Torvald hits her she realizes how wrong she was about everything and how blind she was. So she makes a bold decision and decides to leave her kids and leave Torvald so she can find a spot for herself in the world.

The author did a very good job on getting the correct settings for the play since I could get a lot of imagery on a Norwegian household. I enjoyed myself while reading the play and had a lot of fun analyzing it’s ideas.

WDolan_Things_Fall_Apart_Blog

Date: March 24, 2022

Subject: English Literature: HL

Novel: Things Fall Apart

Author: Chinua Achebe

The author depicted his characters through association. For example: Amalinze, the wrestler was nicknamed ‘The Cat’ (pg. 3), Okonkwo was called the “Roaring flame” (pg. 153), and Ezinma was called the “Crystal of Beauty”(pg. 172). Each of these titles have an aura that appeal to specific emotions within the reader. When reader’s hear “Cat” they may think of stealthiness, and when they hear “Roaring Flame” they may think of anger or someone with an intense personality. Lastly, when a reader hears the term “Crystal of Beauty”, they may think of something beautiful or may find the idea of someone being objectified as offensive or derogatory.

Through the author’s association of his character’s with objects or ideas, it made the novel more interesting to read, as it introduced me to a different culture which I was never aware of. Notwithstanding, there were shocking elements regarding the social structure and status of women. However, this is not unlike what we have read in “The Color Purple”  where rape, and other acts of violence against women occured. In “Things Fall Apart we see Okonkwo threatens Ekwefi with a gun before hunting (pg. 39) and express ideas which appear hostile to the western world. His commands such as; “Sit like a woman!” (pg.44), and his pride regarding his son grumbling about women, because it showed “he could control his women folk” (pg. 53) was appalling. To disregard any negative emotion towards Okonkwo, it was important to remember not to allow my western education to interfere with my ability to learn and not be cynical towards other cultures in which I know nothing about. 

Although “Things Fall Apart” deals with similar themes as “The Color Purple”, its structure is different. It would not make sense for this novel to be written as if it were a collection of letters because of the time frame in which it was written, and because we may feel more hate towards specific characters. For example: If the novel were simply a collection of letters exchanged between individuals, we may not know whether the context in which it was written is accurate. If Okonkwo were to write a letter explaining the importance of controlling women, we may feel inclined to disregard this claim. But it is easier to read and understand when there is a narrator which provides important details about a culture in which they are familiar with. It provides a sense of trust.

 

Finally, I learned that a reader can learn a lot about a character through the author’s association of them with an object or another living organism. When we ponder the traits expressed or stereotyped about that object or person, we can gain a vague understanding of who they are. However, this does not completely define them! This strategy cannot be used in all situations because we may be unsure of its literal or figurative context. 

I enjoyed this novel because the author focused on the emotion of anger throughout most of the novel, while providing moments of vulnerability in which the reader could gain a real sense of a character’s personality. Sometimes the theme of anger seemed overwhelming and it was refreshing when the character who expressed this emotion the most, was able to show his softer, and more elegant traits.

Melville Before Coffee

Lately, I’ve been hand-copying Moby-Dick first thing in the morning, before coffee, to carve out a space for my brain and my hands, to have a definite frame of time. I suppose I do that as others practice yoga or meditation.  —Yiyun Li, Chinese-American novelist

NY Review of Books, March 2022: https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2022/03/05/melville-before-coffee/

Felix’s Personal Response to “A Doll’s House.”

In book “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen, made me realize that finding a partner you love, and are able to live with, is a hard thing to do. Reading Torvald and Nora’s relationship tear apart little by little every act, I’m not going to lie, it made me a bit sad, seeing this made-to-be perfect relationship faking their interest for each other. On one hand, Nora is a manipulative being and constantly being under surveillance by Torvald, as to not make him mad. 

Torvald seems to not really love Nora, but more like the thought of her being in love with him, and trying to fulfill his idea of what a man has to be. That a man has to provide shelter, food, money, and clothes, just like playing dress up with a little doll. 

Nora on the other hand, is intelligent enough to play Torvald games but also don’t get manipulated by him. 

Torvald and Nora both lost their values when they became a couple, ignoring their morals and themselves; leading to Nora leaving. I did not like how Nora left, she could’ve handled it way better—knowing her intelligence—choosing herself over everyone, including her own three kids, not caring enough to give them a simple explanation. 

It was a relationship that started in the desert, where they found an oasis thinking all of their problems would be solved, while in fact it was just another small break from reality, and when they realized that their little break was over and they needed to work with each other to scape the desert, Nora opted out. 

It was a relationship that by the second act, it was clear that they weren’t going to be together at the end of the play. 

Sugarcoating a relationship isn’t a way to work things out, and Torvald and Nora proved that, they also proved that the serious talks need to be addressed according so, and there aren’t many people willing to do that. Some, joke around to lessen the blow—like Dr Rank and Nora did (pp. 152-153).—Love is and was a hard thing to find, but I wasn’t impossible, the problem was finding someone that you are willing to love and spend time with them, while respecting yourself, their virtues, and opinions. 

PR to A Doll’s House

A Doll’s House surprised me with how good it is.  It allowed me to explore, in a third person view what a 19th century marriage looked like, obviously with some exaggeration because Torvald was a man and a half, not in a good way.  I like how the characters, specifically Nora and Krogstad grew.  At first I was somewhat disgusted by Nora and her childish behavior, and I disliked Krogstad because I saw him as the sleezy bad guy that is put there just because.  But over time I saw that Krogstad was much like shylock, a man pushed to far, and Nora was a bit naïve but her heart was in the right place and changed to be a stronger person that she was at the start of the play, a bit like Antigone.  I also like the symbolism of the one room which the play takes place in, which at the end Nora leaves.  Oh! I also liked Dr. Rank he was a cool gentlemanly kind of guy.

 

A Doll’s house Personal Response Sergio Camarillo

A doll’s house was very interesting to read as Nora’s character development can be seen with a big impact. The play presents its characters in their own way yet they all have a past affiliation with either Torvald or Nora, meaning that they are nor really new characters to the protagonists. All of these side characters have an important role in helping on Nora’s development. In particular Mrs. Linde is very important as she is the one who “gives” Nora the final push in telling torvald the truth. She is also what Nora aspired to be and in a way follows her example in the end by standing up to torvald. Dr Rank shows Nora that she has top be careful in who she trusts and the way she affects other people. At first she wanted to go around telling her secret but after she finds out about Rank’s feelings she “matures” and learns better.

Krogstad shows her that her actions have consequences and that she has to think before she acts because there will be reprecussions. We see a very mature and in a way emotionally cold Nora by the end of the play. This can be seen in the way she talks to torvald about her decision to leave him and the kids like she has been thinking of it for a long time when in reality there wasn’t much time with those thoughts. She stands up to torvald and becomes her own person in a rather cold way yet it was necessary for her to “break free”. 

What I also like about the play is that they show us the way that society was when women didn’t have many rights and privileges in a rather normal way yet criticising it. They show Torvald as the toxic and controlling husband of those times in a great way that makes me despise him. Yet its very interesting to see his character development in the last act. We can see how he truly is, by not caring enough about Dr. Rank’s death and the explosive way he reacts to krogstad’s letter.

We see how selfish he is and how he doesn’t care and respect Nora. But when Nora leaves he ends up respecting her and ends up as an equal to her rather than being the “”boss” he desperately wanted to be. I would like to think that by the end of the play Torvald learned something and became at least aware of his actions. Overall I really like the play and enjoyed the reading quite a lot.

A Doll’s House

I think the doll’s house is a very interesting book. It shows how women got treated back then and how their life in general was. How the role distribution of mother and father in a family was. It’s obvious to see what importance that had for the people. But it’s also noticable that exactly that didn’t make them happy, by them I am especially talking about Nora.

While reading the book it didn’t seem that badly of a treatment because Nora always said Torwald would do everything for her and that he treats her very well and that she can’t complain about anything. But in the film you could really see how bad he really treated her. It was so important to see the play to understand the circumastances better. It was different than I imagined it to be.

I loved the ending, when Nora finally stood up against Torwald. For once she seemed so brave and independent. While at the beginning she was more childish and dependent on Torwald. I love the character development there. But I don’t really understand where it comes from. From now on her point of view changed completely. All the time it seemed to me as if she doesn’t understand what happens to her or she just accepted how Torwald handled her. She seems to have fun playing those games not suspecting anything wrong about it. After Torwald got the letter I thought she is giving up but I was so wrong, that was the moment when she finally got the courage to stand up against him. I just wonder where that came from, what influenced her to change her mind so drastically.

Personal Response on A Doll’s House

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen brought up different social issues, for example, the traditional roles of women and men and the expected responsibility in marriage through characters Nora and Torvald. I am intrigued by this story because I can gain a perspective from Nora, who was in a toxic relationship. Her husband controlled her life like a doll, and finally brave enough to stand up for herself and step out of the family and break free. Even though I pity Nora that she had to suffer from being controlled for eight years, I am proud of her growth and standing up for herself. But at the same time, I feel empathy towards Torvald and think it is unnecessary and selfish of Nora leaving the family. In this response, I will justice my reasons.

First of all, from Nora and Torvald’s marriage, we can see the importance of communication. Nora has never attempted to voice her own opinion through the eight years of marriage. Act one even indicates that Nora falls into society’s ideal expectation of men and women in a marriage, “And besides, just think how awkward and humiliating it would be for Torvald – to know he owed me something. It would upset the entire balance of our relationship; our beautiful, happy home would no longer be what it is.” (P.117). From that line, it suggests that her ideal home is Torvald being the dominant one in the family and that she does not want to change that at that moment, and that it was later on, she finally realized it was wrong, and she should be treated better. Therefore, I do not think it is fair to blame Torvald for controlling Nora because they are both blinded by society’s standards and do not think it was a problem.

Secondly, at the end of act 3, we can see the change of Torvald from being what society wants him to be to him realizing his problems and is willing to change for Nora and go against the typical men and women’s role in marriage.
Torvald before:
“I would gladly work night and day for you, Nora- bear pain and hardship for your sake. But nobody would sacrifice their honour for the one they love.” (P.186)
“You talk like a child. You don’t understand the society you live in.” (P.185)
Torvald after:
“I have the strength to be a different person.” (P.187)
Torvald is also a victim of falling into society’s norms, he never realized that he had a problem, but he has shown that he now realizes and is willing to change.

Furthermore, I think it is selfish for Nora to abandon her children. I understand that she has had enough of being trapped in the relationship, but if Torvald is willing to change, why wouldn’t she give him a chance and stay for her children. Imagine her children waking up in the morning and realizing their mother has abandoned them. I think that standing up for yourself is essential, but being a role as a mother is just as important as that. People may argue that she is unable to become a good mother because she will pass on her negative traits to her children, but I think she should have stayed and worked on improving herself and her marriage and taking care of her children at the same time.

To conclude, I do not think that Torvald’s fault leads to Nora leaving the family, and I don’t blame and even admire Nora’s courage in going against the social norms. In comparison, I believe that society’s expectation of men’s and women’s roles in marriage caused this and that Nora and Torvald are both victims of it.

PR A Doll‘s House

Ibsens, “A doll‘s House,“ made me feel lots of emotions of uncomfort and sympathy. This was because of how real the characters’ situations are, and because of the way the characters treat each other. While reading this book I always thought that the characters’ situations were created to be very realistic. For example, Nora and Torvald are a very trope-like family that most people in our day and age have knowledge about. The man works and the woman makes the man satisfied by cooking, etc. This was what it was like in the olden days and it made me feel sympathy for women who were always treated unfairly and wouldn’t be allowed to do the things men were allowed to. I believe this play was made to give lots of emphasis on the misogyny that women used to face and still do in our current day. 

    I found that in this play a lot of the time I would feel uncomfortable with Lora and Torvalds family. The family feels fake and only happy on the outside while very negative on the inside. Lora and torvolds relationship seemed like it was only held together by the security they gave each other. It was so forced that Lora would just tolerate all of the torvalds gentil verbal abuse to ensure that she would have a good family. This weird fake family happiness made me feel really uncomfortable because it is so forced and made me feel sick. Also the way everyone would talk to Lora in a childish way was super uncomfortable. It’s like they are talking to her as if she were an object or pet, hence the name “doll house.”

    I think the author really was trying to emphasize what it’s like to be in a good relationship. Equal rights, communication, honestly, and not being fake, are what I learned to make a good relationship from this play.