VPirani_Reflection on my Writing

Throughout the year, my literary analysis has matured. I’ve understood the main ideas and noticed small key factors to pointing out key elements that are the causation factors for the rising action, climax, and falling action.

In the first few blog posts, I submitted this year, I continuously failed to connect the title to the actual contents of the literary summary I would ramble on and on without getting straight to the point, misleading the reader. Now, in my blog posts, I tend to struggle with properly writing the titles (if they should be in italic or between ” “). I still do have a bit of trouble with making my sentences too wordy or confusing, but it has definitely improved.

I feel as though I have gained much knowledge on literary analysis, although I still have much more to learn in proper punctuation, targeted analysis and interpretation of the literary piece. There is also the contextualization and how the reader could understand the authors writing.

Overall, I feel quite confident in my capability to improve. My attention and focus have definitely increased, it is not where I’d like it to be, but it most definitely will be for next year.

WDolan_Reflection on My Writing

My writing has changed since September as I have learned to be more specific when explaining the points I have brought up in the assessments. I think I have strived to be become a better English writer because I became extremely annoyed by the first two weeks of the teacher constantly telling me I was not being specific enough. I have also been able to present my ideas in logical order and build the intensity better than the beginning of the year.

 

To improve the quality of my writing, I need to think more critically to gain a 360 degree perspective of all aspect of the stories or texts I am reading. I need to increase my vocabulary and not let my bias interfere with the facts or approach of a story. I find that making shorter and simpler sentences is easier, meaning I no longer feel the need to use sophisticated words to make my assignments “sound better”. 

Reflection on Writing 2020-2021

In comparison to September, I believe that my writing has improved. Generally speaking, I think that my ideas and insights have remained fairly consistent. However, the structure of my writing is now better suited to amplify those ideas. This year, we primarily focused on literary analysis. Though we did this in previous years as well, it was never as much of a focal point in our courses. Therefore, to keep up with this analytical content, I had to adapt my writing. In my first few blog posts of the year, I tended to use several short paragraphs, which I now consider to be incomplete and underdeveloped. Often, these paragraphs did not contain assertions, nor the required substance to support any claims. Though these paragraphs weren’t necessarily bad, their style was incompatible with their content. They would be much better suited for contexts like newspaper articles or novels, as I generally wrote them for a wow effect rather than for analytical purposes. Throughout the year, I believe I improved on these grounds. I began writing with the goal of being clear, concise, and analytical. I prioritized the structure of my writing, ensuring that I always used assertions, and consistently supported them with relevant information and quotations. Following this structure has truly helped me write in a manner that compliments my literary analyses, which has benefitted my analytical thinking, as well.

Going forward, I’m hoping to work on my unclear and awkward expressions. This is a challenging error to correct, as there is no simple solution for it. Often, I tend to cram several ideas into one sentence, and I believe this is a primary cause for my awkward writing. In the future, I am going to proofread specifically for this error, in hopes to recognize and correct it. Regardless, I am aware that this will take time and patience, since it can be difficult for me to see these errors in my own writing. One of the best things I believe I can do is continuously exposing myself to good writing. Whether that is through novels, scholarly essays, class handouts or even through my classmates’ blog posts, this is an excellent way to learn. For me, reading is the most enjoyable and rewarding way to absorb good writing techniques and ideas. Therefore, I am looking forward to doing so this summer.

Overall, I believe that my writing has improved, and I am incredibly eager to keep progressing. I strongly believe that everyone’s writing skills have room for improvement, as writing is ever-changing and nonlinear. As we reach new experiences in our lives, we gain more knowledge, perspective, and insight. Though this means that improvements may happen slowly, it also means that they will be inevitable if you keep pursuing growth. Moving forward, I hope to continuously apply what I learn to my writing, in order to improve its quality.

Reflection on My Writing

I believe that my writing has improved since the start of the year. I think that every year I continue to write, I become a better writer in some aspect. I don’t think that the change between the start of the year and now is as drastic as the changes between previous years, but that is the case for everything one learns. At this point, most of my errors are not so easily fixable as spelling correctly or learning what different punctuation marks mean. Instead, I’ve been slowly working on my ability to write clearly and succinctly, which is by far a more challenging task.

In my future writing career, I think I will be benefited greatly by having learned to look out for over-embellished phrases that serve only to complicate. This was definitely something I struggled with in the past, and still to an extent now. Having become aware of it, I’ve been able to work on correcting it. I think that in other English classes, it’s very possible I never would have been taught this lesson, and would continue suffering from an addiction to ‘fancifying’ my writing. To work on fixing this further, I can use the parentheses method one of the professors we looked at described, in which I identify all extraneous sentences, phrases, or even paragraphs, and remove them.

Along with working on my ability to simplify more, I also feel that I need to work on having a clear outline for each paragraph before I begin writing. I often throw my thoughts onto the keyboard as they come to me instead of considering what I want to say beforehand. My interest in writing lies more with the creative than academic side, and since learning about paragraph structure in academic writing, I’ve realized just how much it applies to creative writing too. A paragraph shouldn’t be there if it doesn’t have a purpose–maybe, in creative writing, to show the reader a character trait, give them background, foreshadow an event, or set a mood, among other things. I want to get to a point where I always know exactly what I’m trying to accomplish with a paragraph before I begin writing it. This is a matter of putting in the effort to outline before writing, which I will do for any significant writing I do in the future.

Reflection on my writing 2020-2021

My writing has not drastically changed compared to the beginning of the year. My thoughts and beliefs align in many of my posts. One of the most prominent aspects I stand for in all my posts is women’s empowerment. I need to work on translating my thoughts into clear phrases and expand more on them.

At the beginning of the year, I focused on the plots of books and wrote my blogposts about the environment and situations the characters were in. Whereas recently, I started focussing more on the characters and how they feel, why they are the way they are. The way there are moulded into society, Etc.

I like most of my blog posts. Even though they might be unclear or lacking in some aspects, they helped me improve my writing throughout the year. To further develop my writing, I plan on reading and throughout the summer.

Reflection on my writing 2020-21

Compared to the start of September, my writing improved slightly. I feel that I am able to use the language better. It has been hard for me to convert thoughts into words. But now, I write less awkwardly.

As a result, the organization of my paragraphs are clearer. I used to just follow a strand of my logic and write freely. I never considered how structurally clear it is for the people reading it because my writing would (of course) make sense to me. Now I take the habit of creating a small outline before I start.

I still think I have a long way to go in terms of “translating” my thoughts into words. Oftentimes I write awkwardly because I can’t convey my thoughts directly. When I read my old posts, they are unfamiliar as if like I never wrote them. There’s no other way to improve my writing other than to read more and write more. I will write casually as a habit from now on.

Awakening personal response

During Chopin’s The Awakening, we can observe an enlightenment in Edna Pontellier. 

In this play, Edna, wife of Mr Pontellier goes through a huge phase of growth to find herself and break the walls society puts her in to become an independent individual in society, but in the end, the only way she is able to do this is by killing herself.

 

          Edna realized she wanted to be more than a wife/mother, but the issue was that at the time, it was pretty much what women were able to do at the time.

She was put in the situation where if she left with the man he loved, Robert, she wouldn’t be able to be happy as he felt a responsibility to her husband and kids. On the other hand, if she stayed, she would be forever miserable.

This makes us question if her actions were selfish.The pressure of leaving and breaking free broke her and made a decision she thought was adequate, but is her action selfish to save her from the pain, without thinking of how growing up without a mother can be for her kids. Or is it selfless, as she considered that this action would save her children from the consequences of her socially unacceptable behaviour, and in the future save them from. I think that even considering this, I still think that she made a very selfish choice, as I’m sure that their kids would be way more affected by her death than anything society could say to them, although it was the only way she could truly be free, as no matter what decision she made, she would forever be affected by it and probably never truly be free being alive.

         

        During chapter 16, Edna says to Mme. Ratignolle “I would give up the unessential; I would give my life for my children; but i wouldn’t give myself”.

This phrase shows us that she can’t be a mother to them and an individual at the same time. 

 

Pygmalion personal response

   In Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, we can observe the contrast between the different social classes, and how language is presented as a symbol to differentiate social standards.

Eliza Doolittle, a working class flower girl, and Professor Higgins, an egocentric man who is rude with everyone he meets, writing down what people say to then study and analyze for his phonetic research.

There is no doubt that Higgins is very smart, but he lacks empathy towards the rest as he is so focused on his work and doesn’t have time for feelings.

We can clearly see that Higgins doesn’t really care about the type of person Eliza is but talks to her to study her. Too focused on understanding the difference in the accents that he treats Eliza not as a person but rather an experiment.

“You see this creature with her kerbstone English: the English that will keep her in the gutter to the end of her days. Well, sir, in three months I could pass that girl off as a duchess at an ambassador’s garden party.”

When deciding to take the challenge, he believes that by changing her accent and fixing her manners is how he can make her pass with a different role in society, and takes it as a fun test instead of thinking about what may happen during/after the process to Eliza, more concerned on how he will feel and look after he succeeds. 

Through this process, Higgins not only intends to change her accent but her manners too.

I think it is ironic he tries to do that when clearly he doesn’t have any either as we see how he acts around other people.

I really enjoyed reading this play, as even though I had some trouble reading Eliza’s English, I was very interested in the way language can reflect someone’s social status and how it can be manipulated.

 

The Awakening: Releasing from Middle-Class Mediocracy and its Restriction on Desire

The Awakening by Kate Chopin published 1899 is a dramatic novel which elicits various topics concerning the societal obligations which many of us are confronted with. An obligation in the context of the society of the people in this essay is a requirement which seems completely obligatory from the view of the public, however, is indifferent towards whether it applies to the person themself. It could be constrictive, or deconstructive for the person, as they either align with or misalign with certain conformities. To demonstrate this, is the example of the lead character of this book, Edna Pontellier, who exhibits the struggles, and the blessings, of middle-class life. She pushes against the barriers imposed upon her way of life, forming new ideals and uncovering new lifestyles, ones that fill the void of her suppressed passion. Then the integrity and stability provided by society falls away, and Edna finds herself breached and despondent, now confronting a new set of problems within her moral self, the uncertainty of who she wants to be. Therefore, we see how societal standards provide, yet take away, from our psychological proficiency.

Edna, due to her role as wife of her family, has her duties to maintain the structure and image her family holds. “If it was not a mother’s place to look after children, whose on earth was it?”, (Ch. III) Edna is expected to cater to the satisfactions and demands of her children. “’Why, my dear, I should think you’d understand by this time that people don’t do such things; we’ve got to observe les convenances…’”, (Ch. XVII) where Edna is told she cannot be absent for her in-home day, where neighbours and friends stop by to visit: “do such things”, and that she must follow the regulations of propriety: “observe les convenances”. Her peers do not attempt to interpret how such expectations would not be fair to her, her husband Mr. Pontellier expects her to upkeep the form and function of their family, society would require her to maintain prim and proper relations, to be consistent in her behaviour, to show ‘class’. “’Why?’ asked her companion. ‘Why do you love him when you ought not to?’” (Ch. XXVI) The social expectations afflicted upon Edna are evidently without her input, therefore apply pressure to restrict her character and sense of being.

Such inhibitions to her sense of being, disallowance of her own expression affected Edna on a psychological level. “She could not have told why she was crying. Such experiences as the foregoing were not uncommon in her married life. They seemed never before to have weighed much against the abundance of her husband’s kindness and a uniform devotion which had come to be tacit and self-understood,” (Ch. III). Edna realizes that she severely lacks self-satisfaction and begins seeking spiritual outlets away from her monotonous life, building a new sense of being, “…Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her,” (Ch. IV). Things of freedom, wandering, free of constraint, “The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander…” (Ch. IV). Edna was finding she was opposed against all social constructions, segregations and structures on how to behave. She despises elements of the middle-class life like marriage, “The acme of bliss, which would have been a marriage with the tragedian, was not for her in this world.” (Ch. XXVII) An interesting exposition of Edna’s changes come from chapter seven, showing for one of the few times throughout the novel, the interior thought patterns of Edna, “Mrs. Pontellier was not a woman given to confidences, a characteristic hitherto contrary to her nature. Even as a child she had lived her own small life all within herself,” and “she felt she would take her place with a certain dignity in the world of reality, closing the portals forever behind her upon the realm of romance and dreams.” These quotes are significant, for they tell us in which specifically the changes in personality Edna undergoes. Even as a child, she experienced both sides of her conflict in personality, inhibiting her desires and passions, while holding fantasies of “romance and dreams”. It is possible that Edna truly desired her dreams at a younger age, however she may have been influenced by opinions of figures of society, to want a married “romance”, and dreams “money and respectability”. She would have stymied her true desires for fake longings, and it is arguable of that being responsible for her sense of confinement. Evident is how society causes a deficit in mental health of its subjects, causing internalization of feelings, and loss of sense of meaning.

Edna begins feeling passion again, finding things that speak to her person, doing wonders for her attractiveness, “…from the listless woman he had known into a being who, for the moment, seemed palpitant with the forces of life. Her speech was warm and energetic,” (Ch. XXIII). It would seem with following her passions, contradicting society, Edna’s vibrancy of character and appeal to be around grows, showing how being the way she wants worked amazingly for her, and for her health. Unfortunately, where happiness may come from flouting the law, reality still comes crashing down to ruin it. We begin to see how Edna begins feeling the oppression of society, “There was with her a feeling of having descended in the social scale, with a corresponding sense of having risen in the spiritual,” (Ch. XXXII). While having risen in the spiritual sense includes higher senses of happiness, it also involves deeper senses of sadness, of and regret. “It was not despair; but it seemed to her as if life were passing by, leaving its promise broken and unfulfilled,” (Ch. XV). “The present alone was significant; was hers, to torture her as it was doing then with the biting conviction that she had lost that which she had held,” (Ch. XIV) Edna regrets losing the stability, security provided by society, for when following passion, it requires strength, as there are no barriers preventing from being lost, or run over, or veering off in one direction, so to speak. Mme. Reisz, a friend, speaking to Edna said, “’The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth,’” (Ch. XXVII). Although interpretable in multiple ways, this quote coincides with what afflicts Edna, for with following her lust, she came upon the difficulties imposed by being independent from a society that imposes an alternate lifestyle. Edna soars “above” tradition, which is a formidable thing to do, as it involves avoiding being “bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth.”

It is eventually society which ended Edna, for while benefitting from breaking free of her chains, she found that there was naught in her world which she still desired. “There was no one thing in the world that she desired. There was no human being whom she wanted near her except Robert; and she even realized that the day would come when he, too, and the thought of him would melt out of her existence, leaving her alone.” (Ch. XXXIX) She lost her passion, personified by Robert, her long love throughout the novel. A void replaced her passion when she lost her potential of being with Robert, and that I would argue is what strove her to end her life. I am bewildered by how she would decide there is no passion elsewhere to discover, yet countless I regard her decision justified, for in the realm of emotion only figurative ideas can form decisions. The most logical conclusion is to say she found not enough in the world for which allowed her to be the way she desired, “’But I don’t want anything but my own way. That is wanting a good deal, of course, when you have to trample upon the lives, the hearts, the prejudices of others…’” (Ch. XXXVIII). The irony is that before, coinciding with social standards, Edna had felt she was missing an element in her sense of being, same thing after she changed, “Despondency had come upon her there in the wakeful night, and had never lifted,” (Ch. XXXIX). There are perils to both sides, and perhaps both sides lack an element the other side has. It might be, if Edna had persevered and continued to live, she would have pursued a more balanced lifestyle, one allowing expression of her passion while also giving her the foundation society provides.

The conflict of person vs. society is a common trope, not only in stories, but also among us in the real life. What The Awakening may have taught us is that there are benefits to being a stable and ‘respectable’ old-fashioned middle-class style personality, or a rebellious and free-spirited one. We all seek freshness, freedom of expression, yet we take up relationships with those we love, and follow routines. This is indeterminable by external factors, I would say, for the truth of what convenes best to us is found within, therefore makes little sense, and requires time and discovered understanding to eventually be able to answer. Often when we are young, we choose to break free from the society, to live free, without our parents, on the road. Then we return after a while, sit down, get a job, live stationary. This is a common observation, yet is the opposite in Edna’s case, who had spent much of her adulthood without the necessary step of already having explored her will for freedom. I would argue the massive shock of having all this longing to be free thrown at her may have been a bit much for her, for through understanding and following it, she went to the opposite extreme of where she was before, through the severity of her feeling. That is why I regret her death, and wish she would have seen through the extremity, to return perhaps to a place a better emotional stability.

The Awakening elicits many inquisitions on the nature of the human mind, making us wonder how we are influenced by the world we live in, and how that affects how we choose the way we wish to be. The novel gives one of the most in-depth expositions of the cognitive strife involved in breaking from an old way of being, for going ‘free’, like in many stories, showing in detail what type of incentives were required for Edna to break from society, and the influence that had on her. Edna enjoys no longer conforming to society’s expectations, yet by leaving the security of society, she faced the risk of losing her willpower and strength to be different, “’The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings.” Therefore, the benefits of living conservatively, or freely, have their opposites benefits, and it is forever debatable which side is best to follow for anyone, and how we should go about approaching our lives between the two sides.

Personal Response to The Awakening

The Awakening, a novel written by Kate Chopin takes place in the very early 1900s New Orleans. The main character being Edna Pontellier, throughout the story we can see her struggles and death at the end of the novel. I was left with many questions at the end of the book like “Is Edna a bad person? A bad wife? A bad mother?”, “Is Edna selfish?”, “What is a good marriage?”, and “What obligations do parents have to their parents?”.

For the first question I have which is “Is Edna a bad person? A bad wife? A bad mother?”. I don’t think Edna is a bad person because it seems as though throughout a lot of the story she is mentally unstable, her life is almost at a constant flux of emotions and therefore she is not in the right headspace and if she was I feel as though she would be a better person, and when Mme. Ratingolle was sick she took care of her, despite her and Robert having a very lovey dovey conversation. She is in some form a “bad wife”, due to the fact that she is literally cheating on him with another man, and is very much so in love with another man other than Leonce. She isn’t a bad mother though, she still throughout the story seems to be very loving towards her kids and takes care of them and thinks of them.

For the second question I have which is “Is Edna selfish?”, I do think she is selfish, this is mostly due to the fact she is taking away her pain just to feel good, even though she is scarring plenty of her friends and close family members.

For the third question I have is “What is a good marriage?”, I feel as though that a good marriage is one where both people in the marriage love each other, they keep their distance from each other (so they don’t burn each other out), and neither are financially dependent on the other. For example if the father wasn’t working while the mother has a job, I feel as though it creates a power dynamic in the way that like one feels as though they are doing more and could cause tension between them that would get in the way of other things. That’s why I feel as though it’s good if both parents work and it also helps stop parents being burned out by each other.

For the final question I have is “What obligations do parents have to their parents?”, Some of the main obligations that parents have to their kids are like loving them, supporting them, and the obvious stuff. With the supporting them part I’m mostly talking about like whatever job they choose, whatever stuff they like to do, and stuff like that. The obvious stuff mostly includes like food, shelter, water, and clothes.

Reflection on The Awakening

Chopin’s The Awakening showcases individuality compared to society’s conventions. Edna Pontellier, who the main character of this book. She is trying to break away from society’s standard conventions of the time in order to find reason and individuality rather than listening to what others find proper or correct, instead of making decisions on her own and only letting her define who she really is.

Society when this was written was extremely strict in what women could do and what their actions meant. Edna is an upper-class woman married to a profitable hardworking man who seems to view her just as a status symbol rather than someone who he loves. Some people wonder why she wouldn’t just get a divorce and find somebody who actually loves her for who she is, and she does the same too. Once women became divorced back then she is looked at as a used car as if it’s worthless. Therefore, women were pretty much forced to stay within these unhealthy marriages in order to keep value and respect to their names. Edna rebels against the rules of society and leaves home and moves into a new house down the street. When Mr.Pontellier learns of what Edna’s plans are, he puts their house under renovations to make it look like there was a reason for Edna to leave the house. Mr. Pontellier was never thinking of his relationship with his wife, “he was simply thinking of his financial integrity. It might get noised about that the Pontellier’s had met reverses and were forced to conduct their Menage on a humbler scale than heretofore.” (P. 110) Edna to Mr. Pontellier is just a symbol of their status. He only cares about how their family looks to the rest of the world rather than accepting the other person for who they are.

Edna, we see throughout the book become a woman who is independent who does not rely on others or belong to others. She chooses what she wants and focuses on her needs like she never has before. “I am no longer one of Mr. Pontellier’s possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where I choose. If he were to say, ‘here Robert takes her and be happy; I should laugh at you both.” Edna’s relationship with Mr. Pontellier has become meaningless and she does not see him as her husband who should control what she does anymore. This shows her becoming more aware of what she could do on her own without having to be dependant. Lower-class people constantly have to wake up every day and go to work in order to survive and have a hope that one day they will be able to retire happily. Middle-class women in the same stuck position as Edna, have lots of time to wonder what their purpose is, what they want to achieve, what goals do they have. Society sadly seemed to put a cap on the potential of women by locking them into boxes which they could which should never be done to anyone.

The question of what killed Edna Is interesting. You could say her husband or Robert but, I find that society killed her. Another view I considered was money. Edna was a middle-class woman who had all of these conventions of society created from money breathing down her neck. If you’re a middle- or upper-class person you have to look act and talk a certain way. We see this questioned in Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, Elsa a flower girl is changed into what Mr. Higgins considers a woman then, she goes to the embassy ball filled with people of high status and fits in perfectly. Money changes the way people look at anything just as Mr. Pontellier renovated his house only to protect his financial integrity since his wife had decided to leave the house.

The awakening Is an incredibly eye-opening book about women’s rights then and now. The story does a good job of lifting up characters rather than keeping them as only a protagonist or antagonist. This helped me see different views of each character and each character’s traits. The book also is a great representation that we should never put women in boxes that limits them to what they are able to achieve. I hope that we have moved on from this time and find it important to analyze this book.

 

The Awakening Personal Response

In the literary piece “The Awakening” by author Kate Chopin, we are introduced to enlightenment. When the reader first sees the title, we may believe it is referring to an individual becoming themselves. This although a good ideal, is far from the meaning behind the title. The title refers to one’s growth and understanding of their mistakes.
You see, Edna is a young woman who has lost herself over the years. She has allowed society and her needs to survive to drive her actions and words instead of doing what truly benefits her.

Throughout the story we are introduced to multiple characters who each carry their own burdens in life, whether it be giving up on themselves, losing track of their life, or simply living according to what their elders have instructed.

In the early chapters, we are introduced to a nocturnal beach setting, which one would naturally assume is calming, and a bit nerve-racking. What most do not notice is what the sea truly represents. You see, in the chapters surrounding this setting, there is a lot that Edna goes through about who she is and what she has truly accomplished in life, this also reflects in the sea, due to its broadness and unknown depths carrying beauty and creatures which haunt some. The sea characterises her true feelings and thoughts about herself.

My absolute favourite part of this entire novel, if you may call it that, is the sense of individualism which is reached near the end. Edna matures mentally to a state of independence and self-assertion. This is one of life’s mysteries which many do not accomplish until much later in life.

I really enjoyed this novel, but I would not encourage younger audiences to read it yet, since they are not in a mental space to properly understand the meaning of the novel.

Personal Response to The Awakening

The Awakening by Kate Chopin was a ground breaking work of fiction at the time, and heroine Edna Pontellier was a controversial character. She shattered a lot of nineteenth-century gender stereotypes and standards. Her rejection of her status as a mother and wife was one of her most surprising behavior. Kate Chopin eventually reveals her rejection, but motherhood is a key theme throughout the book.

Chopin gives Edna two foils to be focused on and compared to, Adele Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz. Adele Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz are what the men in Edna’s life compare her to and from whom they derive their hopes for her. Edna, on the other hand, sees all role models missing and realizes that the existence of independence and autonomy she desires is incompatible with society. Rather than idenifying herself independantly, she is identified by her role as Leonce Pontellier’s wife and mother of Raoul and Etienne Pontellier which cause her to struggle against the social and natural constructs of motherhood. The inevitability of her destiny as a male-defined being drives her to desperation, and she decides to end her life the only way she knows how.

Edna’s awareness of her natural role as a mother and woman, along with the social role she is supposed to play, causes her to commit suicide. “Think of the children, Edna. Oh think of the children! Remember them” (p. 131), Adele says to Edna before leaving the Ratignolle’s the night of the birth. Edna’s conscience is invaded by Adele’s appeal, which becomes the deciding factor in her decision to leave her new life behind. The idea of sharing her body with another person, of becoming genuinely a part of something other than her individual self, is fundamentally opposed to anything Edna has been seeking. Raoul and Etienne will be a persistent presence in her life, she realizes, and her innate position as a mother keeps her from living without them. After all, a woman’s primary responsibility is to raise her children to adulthood, and they, in essence, give meaning to her life. Edna refuses to spend the rest of her life as Raoul and Etienne’s mother, as well as Leonce’s wife.

She understands that doing so would mean sacrificing herself, which she vowed she would never do. “The children appeared before her like antagonists who had overcome her; who had overpowered and sought to drag her soul’s slavery for the rest of her days” (p. 136). Edna refuses to be bound by its natural and social labels, and she commits suicide in order to save it from these constraints. Edna’s embrace of death is a regeneration in itself. Edna’s enlightening summer in Grand Isle has reached nine months, and her fetus-self is about to be delivered. “…and for the time she stood naked in the open air, at the mercy of the sun, the breeze that beat upon her, and the waves that invited her” (p. 136).

Edna accepts her rebirth as a way to relieve the burdens of adulthood. Edna pines for the innocence of children, who are blissfully unaware of the pressures of producing children and their fixed social positions. By encouraging herself to forget her life and immerse herself in death, Edna lets go of the concerns that nature and society put on a woman. Society were the two most powerful forces trying to shape Edna Pontellier into the woman they desired, but Edna is eventually able to break their grip by her suicide. Raoul and Etienne had power over her soul, reminding her endlessly of the torture of childbirth that nature demands of her. Leonce and society owned her soul, telling her to be submissive, to keep home, adore her children, and keep up appearances, but it was Raoul and Etienne who imprisoned her soul. Edna’s passion for identity and self-definition stopped her loving her children and announcing that she would give up nearly anything for them, but her desire for individuality and self-definition led her to her deathly rebirth.

Personal Response to The Awakening

In The Awakening, Kate Chopin invites the reader to question society’s conventionality, using her characterizations of Edna and her foils. From the start of the novel, Edna is never presented as someone who is happily married. She immediately appears disconnected from her husband and children, though she still cares for them. When talking with her friends, 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). This passage shows the sense of  indifference Edna has towards him. Then, Edna is described as, “not a mother woman” (p. 9), furthering our idea of her disconnection from her family. When examining Edna next to Mme. Ratignolle, we can see the clear contrast. Serving as one of Edna’s foils, Adèle is warm, feminine, and “delicious in the [mother-]role” (p. 9). She is someone who believes that, “a woman who would give her life for her children could do no more than that” (p. 56), contrasting to Edna, who says, “I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself” (p. 56). Chopin uses Mme. Ratignolle to depict the societally conventional woman: an excellent wife, loving mother, and devout catholic. She seems pleased with and admired for her conventional lifestyle, leading us to wonder if this is the best route.

Edna’s other foil, Mlle. Reisz, lies on the opposite side of the spectrum. She is an independent, single woman who lives separate from social expectations. For these reasons, she’s often characterized as unfeminine, such as the diction presenting her as “strikingly homely” (p. 73), with “strong wiry hands” (p. 73) and a “disagreeable” (p. 29) disposition. People don’t like Mlle. Reisz as much as they do Mme. Ratignolle. Due to her lack of conformity, she’s somewhat shunned from society, leading us to believe that traditionalism is not only the best option, but the only one. As the novel progresses, so does Edna’s radicalism. Her mind and body awaken, leaving her at odds with society’s expectations of her. Suddenly, we’re surrounded by questions about priorities: should we relinquish our radicalism to be embraced by society, or should we abandon society to stay true to ourselves? Can radicals and conventionalists exist harmoniously, or must they remain divided? Kate Chopin utilizes these contrasting characters to accentuate the differences between traditional and progressive, allowing us to explore how each side of the spectrum upholds our society.

Along with questions about conventionality, Chopin uses Edna’s romantic relationships to open discussions on the question, What is love?. From her marriage to her affair with Robert, Edna experiences love in several capacities. At the start of her relationship with her husband, Léonce, Edna realizes that she must give up all her dreams of romance, due to the fact that there is “no trace of passion” (p. 21) between the two of them. Edna grows to resent marriage and the restrictions that accompany it. Not only are we shown this indignation through Edna’s words, but also through Chopin’s symbolism. The beginning of the novel showcases an encaged bird, speaking “a language which nobody understood” (p. 1), representing Edna’s captivity in her conventional marriage. This idea is reiterated when Edna  awakens from her previously oppressed state, seeking independence rather than confinement. This is what I believe provokes her subsequent affairs: her desire to self-control, and relinquish herself from society’s hold. As she tells Robert, “I am no longer one of Mr. Pontellier’s possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where I choose” (p. 128). Due to this resistance to confinement, it may seem counterintuitive that Edna is falling in love with Robert as she experiences her feminist awakening. However, we soon realize that her love for Robert is completely unrelated to marriage and promise. Love, to answer the initial question,  is a disguise for what the characters truly want from life. Edna sees Robert as an escape from conventional life. He’s exciting and new, and she has no obligations to him. When Robert dreams about Edna, he dreams about marriage. But when Edna dreams about Robert, she dreams about self-governance and freedom. Edna has experienced marriage, and it did not equate to love. She “grew fond” (p. 21) of Léonce, but marriage is a failed experiment in Edna’s mind. Therefore, when Robert tells Edna about his “wild dream of [Edna] becoming [his] wife” (p. 127), she is put off. Chopin has written Robert as a conventional character—one that almost resembles a younger Mr. Pontellier. By doing so, Chopin is accentuating Edna’s ideas about love and marriage. To Edna, those two words are not synonymous. Marriage is a prison that detains, oppresses, and suffocates her. Contrarily, love is an escape; a reflection of Edna’s liberation, a release from conventional society. Does this—the desire to break free—make Edna selfish?

Rather than selfish, I argue that Edna is exploring her identity, self-ownership, and place in society. The word “selfish” has a negative connotation, portraying her as a villain for being unhappy and curious. Through her awakening, Edna becomes more in touch with her mind and her body. She begins to make her own decisions, rather than complying to the subservience that society and her husband ask of her. For instance, when Edna chooses to stay outside one night, Mr. Pontellier orders her to come inside. But instead of “submitt[ing] to his command” (p. 36), Edna doesn’t yield, and asserts herself by saying, “Don’t speak to me like that again” (p. 37). From then on, she decides where she goes and what she does, giving herself where she chooses. Personally, I appreciate this self-exploration. Through several means, Edna is getting in touch with her radicalism, and is fighting against the patriarchal, conventional society. Nevertheless, she has made commitments to her husband and children, which complicates the scenario. Edna’s foil, Mlle. Reisz is able to live an independent, radical lifestyle, because she never makes any commitments to other people. Ultimately, this commitment is what restricts Edna. She cannot continue living as a mother and a wife, but she also cannot live independently without causing scandal. Once again, we see this depicted by bird symbolism: her marriage is compared to a birdcage, and her independent home is referred to as a “pigeon house” (p. 101). She is left with no good options; trapped in between the radical and the conventional—the birdcage and the pigeon house. Once she is exposed to the ideas of self-ownership and independence, how is she expected to return to oppressive mundanity?

I was immensely moved by this novel. Not only does it examine a woman’s role in society, but also her obligations to herself. Edna lives in a society where conventionality is prioritized over self-ownership. Women didn’t have the option to control themselves, making Edna’s resistance to societal norms so radical. Edna doesn’t want the conventional life that has been placed onto her, and instead desires freedom to do as she pleases. Her fight against conventional entrapment correlates with her awakening, leading me conclude that radicalism originates from awareness of yourself and the world around you. Throughout my education on societal standards and the oppressive systems that dominate society, my own radical values have increased. In many ways, my education has “awakened” me, like Edna awakened through her emotional experiences. This novel has allowed me to question my values in relation to conventionality; how I want to conduct my lifestyle and continuously progress.

Personal Response to The Awakening

The book The Awakening by Kate Chopin to me was an interesting story to read. When first reading this story, I thought it was going to be another one of those boring “love story’s” but after finishing the story it got me intrigued and asking many questions which left me in confusion trying to answer them.
One of the biggest questions that came to mind is “Was it necessary for Edna to kill herself?” This all started when Edna fell in love with Robert while still being married to Léonce and she couldn’t control herself. This love with Robert, being married to Léonce, and having an affair with Arobin was slowly killing her and giving her that bad reputation. Then once Robert came back from Mexico and visited Nora, she had to leave due to Adèle in labor. Once Edna returned home Robert had left leaving a note saying “I love you. Good-by—because I love you” (pg. 133) then the next day Edna took a train to her summer home, went into the ocean, and drowned herself.
Answering this question can be tough since there are two sides to it. One side is she was being selfish and a child with her kids will not be able to grow up with a mother around. But looking at it from another viewpoint, you notice she was only trying to protect her reputation for her kids when they grow up. You first see this when Adèle whispers to Edna after labor “Think of the children, Edna. Oh think of the children! Remember them!” (pg. 131) and before Edna drowns, she thought of Léonce and the children being part of her life which both refer to her thinking of her kid and how she’d want them to think of her.
Another big question that is raised by this book is about society. “Does society have unwritten rules or standards we need to follow?” Everyone has said to have a free choice of will and not to be afraid to do anything. Yet society can be very judgemental of things we do in our lives so people must do/not do certain things to stay normal and not to be looked at differently. This comes up in the book when Edna is having an affair and being in love with Robert. When Edna drowns, this brings up the question that if Edna stayed alive, would she have broken that unwritten rule and be frowned upon by society for being with different men? The pressure of society has been the cause for many deaths since everyone must not break those “unwritten rules” to live a normal life and to be accepted as a human.
The last big question from this book is “Was it worth it for Robert to leave?” there are many different perspectives on why Robert left Edna with the note “I love you. Good-by—because I love you” (pg. 133) some have said he left because he didn’t want to be with Edna. I believe he left to try and save Edna from herself and stay loyal to her husband. When he said in the letter “Good-by—because I love you” (pg. 133) It sounds like he only wanted the best for her and she could save herself.

The Awakening: Personal Response

The Awakening written by Kate Chopin is a fascinating novel which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I thought that it carried deep and emotional subjects. In The Awakening Edna a mother of two is founded in a loveless marriage. She escapes her reality in finding a romantic interest towards Robert. Robert takes off, and she is alone rediscovering herself. Throughout the novel we see her having multiple different “awakenings” from sexual to emotional. I will be analyzing Edna’s final decision, and if this was the right choice for her.

Symbolisme is a huge factor in the novel. It helps define Edna awakening and emotional suffering. One of the two most notable symbols in the novel is the sea. To Edna, the sea (or the idea of the sea) represents freedom. It is her getaway. The sea is there in the beginning of the novel before her awakening. Often represented as “…seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamouring, murmuring…”(p.15). It is this seductive, secretive sea that ended Edna’s struggle. The sea often foreshadows what was yet to happen; “The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.”(p.15) It is as if the narrator themselves saw the sea as an escape from society, like a soft and grand bed to sleep on after a hard day’s work. Throughout the novel, we see Edna’s strong connection with the sea improve. We notice this with Edna’s experience learning how to swim. Edna randomly feels empowered to swim, though she struggled with it for most of summer. “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” (p.32). This was the first time where Edna feels like she is in control and she gets so excited and entranced with her new power, she doesn’t realize how far she has swam. Getting scared, she swims back. In the later chapter of the novel (where Edna finally decides to end her own life) she isn’t scared. She is calm, thinking of the summer and her childhood. She no longer cares for what society thinks of her and this is what makes her not go back to the shore. She has gone too far, where she can’t go back. Even if Edna decided to live her mundane life, she simply wouldn’t. She now knows what it is like to be free and to feel awake where she’d rather die than live her life. This gives Edna power for this is the only thing that she can control in her life. 

Throughout the novel, we, readers, often question Edna’s relationship with her children. For the first part of the novel, she is seen as distant and far from her children. She doesn’t really care where they are nor what they are doing. “If one of the little Pontellier boys took a tumble whilst at play, he was not apt to rush crying to his mother’s arms for comfort; he would more likely pick himself up, wipe the water out of his eyes and sand out of his mouth, and go on playing” (pp.8-9). When she gets more involved with her personal awakening, we start to see her have more appreciation for her children, but only when they are with her. “How glad she was to see the children! She wept for very pleasure when she felt their little arms clasping her, their heard ruby cheeks pressed against her own glowing cheeks”(p.111). We never see her think about her children alone until the end of the novel deciding her own death. So is Edna a good mother? When being compared to one of her foil, Mme. Adele, it is easy to consider that Edna wasn’t a very loving mother. However, Edna is a caring mother for what she can do in her situation. It isn’t her fault that she is stuck in this society where her only value is to give birth. She didn’t ask to be here, to marry nor to have children. She still loves her children but only because they are her offspring. She doesn’t love them for who they are, simply because she doesn’t know who they are and they are too young to have a defining personality. She is busy holding up womanly values (which she doesn’t believe in) to be a mother for her children, such as staying home on Tuesdays. She knew that she wouldn’t be able to live life to societal conventions. She’d rather die and give her soul to the sea then create a scandal for her children in suicidal aftermath which would forever ruin their reputation and opportunities. So she does 7have consideration for her children. 

Was it the right decision for Edna to end her own life? Personally, I will never conclude that killing oneself is the best option when dealing with difficult times. However, in this context, a literary source; in understanding Edna’s consternations, character and situation, I believe that she made the best decision for herself. She is freeing herself and saving her children from a life of scandal. I also believe that Edna didn’t think she belonged in this world where her roles were very limited. When being compared to her two foils, she simply doesn’t fit in. She isn’t the motherly type nor the independent woman type. The decisions she made in her past has left her now feeling helpless, unable to escape an unloving marriage without causing scandal for her children. Societal pressures obviously lay very heavy on her. I believe that Edna also feels that even if she did come to love someone else, she would still not want to oblige to the “ideal” marriage they would likely want. 

While reading the story of Edna and her ends, I feel a sense of wanting to cry but not having enough tears to do so. To think about how many women often felt trapped in a society that controlled every aspect of their lives. This idea and concept of women is still present in today’s society, from beauty standards to sexual harassment and child marriages. A lot of women around the world constantly feel pressured and harassed to fit the role of “the perfect woman.” I, personally, sometimes don’t even know whether my own opinions are my own, or if they have been formed through thousands of years of social conditioning to undermine women. I hope that one day all women will feel valued in the society that they live in.

WDolan The Awakening Personal Response

In Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening”, the reader learns the story of a woman named Edna, who grappled with the ideas of being a wife living a traditional life, being self-reliant, and free-willed individual. Edna represents the idea of teleology. She has reasons for why she has many affairs, but does not necessarily know about the causes in which they arise. However, seeing how this is frowned upon in the story, it seems society follows more consequentialist principles.

In the beginning of the story, I had the impression that Edna was selfish. It seemed she wanted whatever she liked and was not considerate of other people’s feelings. On page 136 she says: “To-day it is Arobin: to-morrow it will be someone else”. This may seem selfish, but when an individual is unhappy, their feelings are valid. However, they are not always right. Was Edna justified to end her life and leave her children? Was it better for them to not have a scandal caused by Edna inflicted on them? Her final thoughts are about people she cares about. She thinks of Robert, (“There was no human being whom she wanted near her except Robert…” pg 136), and her children. Despite this, it does seem she realizes all the positivity within her life has been stripped away from her, once she was abandoned by her family. Did she really love the ones she was surrounded by? Or were they obstacles and preventing her from having other affairs?

I think it is important to debate Edna’s appreciation of her partner. I am not sure I would refer to them as family since they aren’t married and she has many affairs. On page 81, Madame Pontellier suggests that Edna may be more united if Robert stayed around longer. However, Edna responds with “Oh! Dear no! What should I do if he stayed home? We wouldn’t have anything to say to each other”. Did she respond this way fearing that if Robert stayed home, it would interfere with her freedoms? If this is the case, I would find her response reasonable since women were not given much freedom during this time frame. Her marriage appears to be a type of imprisonment for her. Therefore the only ending available to Edna is death. This relates to an earlier topic discussed about paradise and death. Edna would love to have everything she desires and have other individuals behave the way she deems appropriate. However, if she were to receive all this, her life may have become a mini paradise, and she would still not be satisfied, because she cannot alter the perfect nature of her life. This creates a kind of death within her life, which may have lead to the same ending of the story, where Edna takes her own life.

In summary, the book has many symbols, amd metaphors throughout, adding to its complexity. The book appeals to one gender over the other, because, in my opinion, the romantic scenes were too graphic. It provides excellent insight into what the earlier developments of feminism looked like, and how the story shaped the future. I learned about other people’s perspective on the meaning of life, and what makes their lives important.

The Awakening: Personal Response

The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, is by far my favourite book we’ve read in English this year. The narration caught my attention first. Chopin is marvellously, and quite uniquely in my reading experience thus far, willing to leave things unsaid. She does not leave so much out as to be confusing or frustrating– everything unsaid can be deduced with little hardship. Rather, the satisfaction in reading comes from the simple omission of unnecessary expounding. For instance, when Victor begins singing “‘Ah! si tu savais,'” Edna exclaims “‘Oh! you musn’t! you musn’t!'” (p. 107). Another author may have felt the need to write ‘Edna exclaimed, not wishing to hear the words from anyone other than Robert.’  Chopin, however, gives no explanation at all: she trusts the reader not to need hand-holding. This–to be trusted as a reader–holds the root of the satisfaction I often felt reading this book. There is something rewarding, and thoroughly engaging, about being given the opportunity to think for myself while reading.

Contrasted with Chopin’s ability to leave things unsaid is her ability to, put simply, say them. Intermixed with the unobtrusive narration which is inevitably needed to tow the reader from chapter to chapter, there are vivid, often haunting, descriptions of important feelings and perceptions that couldn’t help but linger in my mind. One such moment occurs at the end of the book, as the sea calls to Edna with a voice that is described as “seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude” (p. 136). Another occurs in chapter three, when, after an argument with Edna’s husband, her mood is described as “an indescribable oppression, which seemed to generate in some unfamiliar part of her consciousness, filled her whole being with a vague anguish. It was like a shadow, like a mist passing across her soul’s summer day” (p. 7). Chopin’s description of occasions such as these managed to engross me in the book while reading and pervade my thoughts even after.

There is then, of course, the talk of content. The story of the woman not made for house-wiving is one that I’ve never failed to be interested by. This interest is in part sparked by a desire to understand the sufferances of women, but more broadly, what fascinates me is the narrative of a person who doesn’t mesh with society. What happens to the child with ADHD in a schooling system built for a different kind of brain? What happens to the homosexual man in a community that proclaims homosexuality a sin? What happens to the independent woman obligated by social expectations to marry? Or, as Edna, the enamoured woman bound by law and convention to a man she does not love? Far too often in the past, and the present too, there has been no escape for these people. We don’t choose our brains or bodies, or the location or era or circumstances of our birth. All too often, if we get stuck with a life or a society that just doesn’t fit, we’re screwed. What can Edna do when living according to conventions would drain her spirit, and when living as she pleases would ruin her children’s lives? Live in misery or die are her two courses of action, and neither one is very appealing. Unfortunately, it’s a damn near impossible task to make society equally welcoming for all types of people. Try as we might, there are just too many types.

All of this is rather grim; the book itself is rather grim. However, I see never-ending value in provoking thought about the ways in which society could be improved. The more perspectives we can see, the better off we will end up. Edna’s perspective is one that applies far more broadly than it might at first seem, making it especially valuable. This, combined with the fascinating writing style, makes The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, a must-read, in my opinion.

The Awakening: Personal Response

For me the book The Awakening by Kate Chopin was exhausting and boring to read. I likewise think Edna is exceptionally childish and selfish. That’s what I thought at first, however as I read and began understanding her intentions, I have an alternate idea on the book. She is trying to find herself, it is about self-revelation and recognition. Although some of her actions still show selfishness and narrow mindedness, I understand her motives behind everything. 

In the context of the 19th century, women’s first priority should be to take care of their children. On the other hand, Edna is described as not a “mother”. When exchanging views on the mother’s debt to the child, Edna declared that her personality is more important than her mother. I will pay my money, I will give my life for my children, but I will not give myself” (page 57). Edna’s adolescence prompted her to fight for self-discovery, which resulted in She neglected responsibilities such as childbirth. Edna is not a conscientious mother. I can’t accept this ending. Although some people say that her children can be taken care of by their grandma and Léonce, if I am the child, I would rather see my parents divorce, to be more accurate ‘not in love anymore’ rather than hearing about my mother’s death. Edna loves her children and she still cares about them. “She was fond of her children in an uneven, impulsive way. She would sometimes gather them passionately to her heart; she would sometimes forget them” (p. 21).

Approaching the end of the novel, Edna shares her final thought about Robert before she commits suicide, “he did not know; he did not understand. He would never understand” (p. 116). Instead of contemplating how she would break her dearest companion’s heart with her final act, she only reflects on how he had never understood her. Edna deserts everyone who had cared for her and who she had relied upon, without much consideration. 

Edna’s actions can be justified with the social standards today. However, She did them all in aiming to fill the void in her miserable life, where she had no control over anything without the approval of a man. Edna sees more to her life, potentials and dreams, although she never had the chance to proceed as she could not handle the consequences it came with. As a mother and as a lover, Edna is selfish. As an individual, her choice of putting herself first in any circumstances and to control her own destiny, makes her almost admirable.

 

Personal Response to The Awakening

I cannot discuss whether or not Edna’s choice to suicide was “right” or “wrong.” It isn’t the right choice to make, but it is her only choice.

As her reputation will likely be ruined, she kills herself to protect her children. “It makes no difference to me, it doesn’t matter about Léonce Pontellier—but Raoul and Etienne!” (p. 136). To me, it feels like her children’s presence drove Edna to death.

“The children appeared before her like antagonists who had overcome her; who had overpowered and sought to drag her into the soul’s slavery for the rest of her days.” (p. 136)

Her children are her “burdens”. If Edna did not have Raoul and Etienne, she can continue her acts of infidelity even if she ruins her reputation. But because Edna gives birth to her children when she is not prepared to be a mother, raising them is “a responsibility which she had blindly assumed and which Fate had not fitted her” (p. 21). Being a “good mother” like Madame Ratignolle means it is her priority to take care of her children at all times. That is why Edna is particularly “selfish” in a way that she wouldn’t “sacrifice herself for her children, or for anyone” (p. 56). Especially after her “awakening,” she realizes that becoming a “perfect mother” requires her to sacrifice too much of her individuality and soul. In order to preserve her soul, she gives her life.

But if Edna didn’t need to worry about her children and runs away with Robert, she wouldn’t be happy either. She knows that her love towards Robert will not last long. Although “there was no human being whom she wanted near her except Robert,” she knows that “the day would come when he, too, and the thought of him would melt out of her existence, leaving her alone.” (p. 136) At this point, Edna is already beyond her younger years of having romantic fantasies. Although she loves Robert, he doesn’t understand her in a way that he, like Léonce Pontellier, doesn’t understand what she means when she says “I give myself where I choose.” (p. 128)

But society, or more specifically, the middle-class society that Edna lives in, will not allow a married woman like her to “give where she choose.” The Pontelliers, like all other middle-class families, need to “observe les convenances” to “keep up with the procession” (p. 60). But the middle-class life is very decent ; Edna’s house is very “charming” (p. 58) and they had servants and cooks. However, she is bound to her home, her family, and the middle-class society.

Disliking the social norms doesn’t justify her infidelity. There is more to why Edna falls in love with Robert and associates with Alcée. At “the beginning of things,” where the world is “necessarily vague, tangled, chaotic, and exceedingly disturbing” (p. 15), “middle class morality” didn’t exist. But because many people are stuck inside this middle-class life forever, they never “wake up,” and their souls “perish in its tumult” (p. 15). Edna discovered herself at the sea, where life first emerged. The water possesses all the treasures to life. She sees a world without “middle-class morality.” As Kate Chopin writes, and repeats:

“The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation.” (p. 15, 136)

Despite suicide being Edna’s only choice, there is something incredibly sad about the death of a “new-born creature,” a beautiful creature that just began to live. Because she possesses a “ponderous weight of wisdom” that even the “Holy Ghost” is unwilling to “vouchsafe” to a “woman” (p. 15), of course her society wouldn’t tolerate such things.

The Awakening: Personal Response

While discussing the book The Awakening by Kate Chopin with a few of my friends, I got many responses on how the book was boring and repetitive. I asked them what they thought about Edna’s character, and the only responses I received were that she is selfish. I, personally, thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. There is much more to the book than just a woman leaving her husband because she is in love with someone else. It is about a woman trying to find herself; it is about self-discovery and recognition. I do not see why Edna is selfish just because she is trying to be happy with herself.

Edna is not a mother-woman and has been classified as selfish because she chooses to do other things rather than look after her children. I solely oppose the point that she is selfish because she does not look after her kids like other mothers do. “She was fond of her children in an uneven, impulsive way. She would sometimes gather them passionately to her heart; she would sometimes forget them” (p. 21). Edna loved her children; the book only mentions the events over a year or two; it does not mention anything before that. We are not aware of how she treated her children before that; maybe she would have taken care of them all the time over the last few years. Edna was supposed to help Léonce with his business; she cannot possibly be present with her kids 24/7; she needs some time to herself, which does not make her selfish. Besides, Etienne and Raoul never complained of her absence; the kids were young and enjoying themselves.

Even though the book suggests that Léonce fell in love with Edna    (p. 21), it is evident that this was not the case. “Then her absolute disregard for her duties as a wife angered him” (p. 67).  It seems as if Edna was stuck in a box and was desperately trying to get out of it and be free. According to societal standards, Mr. Pontellier is the perfect husband, but he is courteous towards Edna only when she is submissive. There is a difference between her being selfish and her being confused. Now that Edna decides to do as she pleases, it is damaging to his business; Léonce lashes out and becomes angry and rude. She did not stick to her duties because she was trying to enrage Léonce, but she wanted to find her true identity. Everyone needs to know who they are. I do not see any evidence that suggests Léonce loved her, and he treats her like an employee rather than his wife.  “He was simply thinking of his financial integrity” (p. 110). Mr. Pontellier shows no affection towards Edna; he is inconsiderate and egoistic unless it regards his business.

I do not think Edna ever loved Mr. Pontellier, and so she sought love from Robert. “She could hear again the ripple of water, the flapping sail” (p. 68). Every time Edna thinks of Robert, the author changes the structure of words and makes it romantic, sensual, and calming. Thinking about him gives her a sense of freedom. She had romantic feelings for Robert, but these were never present with Léonce or Arobin. This is because Robert is everything she wants in a person, unlike Léonce and Arobin, who are self-centred. I hear many people saying that Edna cheated on Robert because she kissed Arobin. “It was the first kiss of her life to which her nature had really responded” (p. 98). This is not true because even though she had deep feelings for Robert, they were never in a committed relationship; they didn’t have to be faithful to each other. Although this does prove that she cheated on Léonce, she was not in love with him.

Edna never considered not having children because it was never an option when she got married. She wanted to have children, but she also needed time to herself. Even though Edna had to die in the end, I enjoyed the ending as well. Her suicide was not because she couldn’t handle her emotions anymore and wanted to be free from them, but because no matter how hard or for how long she fought against the ridiculous societal conventions, she would still be looked down upon and would have never gotten to be with Robert. Her love for Robert still did not change the fact that she did not want to get married or have children again; she wanted an affair. If Edna waited a while more to die, the ending would be a mess. Instead of the lovely person she was, everyone would view her as a cheater or a demented and unpleasant woman, similar to how people view Mademoiselle Reisz. Her death leaves all the characters in suspense as to why she chose to do it. The sudden ending makes it clear that no one would understand how she felt. I think the main focus of this is that Edna was not trying to achieve freedom by finding herself; she was simply trying to feel happy during the process of achieving something, and society would not allow that.

Pygmalion: On Events Creating an Opposite Meaning than is to be Expected

In Pygmalion, what strikes me most is how the events of the play create an opposite ending than what would be expected. Professor Higgins constantly shows a lack of respect towards Elisa Doolittle, therefore giving the notion that by the end of the play, Doolittle would leave Higgins. However, how Doolittle reacts to Higgins at the end of the play is opposite to that, showing that instead the improper behaviour Higgins shows was actually liked by Doolittle.

When talking to Doolittle, Higgins says that she wold be better off living a rougher life and to leave him, “Can’t stand the coldness of my life and the strain, go back to the gutter! […] You find me cold, unfeeling, selfish, don’t you? Marry some sentimental hog…” (1938). Higgins is insensitive when talking to Doolittle, and uses rude language to push his point. He rudely points out to Doolittle that he rescued her from her tough life in the “gutter”. He shows a lack of care and compassion, which would make Doolittle want to leave him.

Higgins has empathy, yet shows it only when he must, and otherwise chooses to follow ethical goals in a rude way. Higgins’ long-term goal is to help Doolittle become confident and independent, and to do so treats her poorly, often getting angry at her. “Take one step…I’ll wring your neck! […] Eliza, I said I’d make a woman of you, and I have. I like you like this” (1938). In reality, Higgins likes Doolittle and wants her around. He acts roughly, for that is how he prefers to talk, and he wanted Elisa to be able to put up with that, and for her to return it too.

Bernard Shaw brings up the question of why Doolittle and Higgins end up liking each other through juxtaposing behaviour with intention and outcome. Shaw does this by characterizing Higgins as a perpetually disrespectful and incosiderate person, and Doolittle as a sensitive person. However, the true intentions of Higgins become clear to Doolittle, and she realizes that he is a person who cares for her. Therefore, by Higgins acting roughly, he meant to toughen her up, not to hurt her.

Personal Response to Pygmalion

Pygmalion is a modern retelling of a classic story by George Bernard Shaw. His protagonists struggle for freedom and justice for women, and his plot points are anti-classist. George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion deconstructs and re-contextualizes the original Greek myth of creating the ideal figure, placing it in the social and political context of 19th century England. Eliza’s transformation represents Pygmalion sculpting Galatea out of ivory, and Shaw’s commentary is already present in this action. Mr. Higgins proposes this project as a gamble, with no clear hope of carrying it forward. When Eliza arrives at his house the following day, he only accepts the job if money is guaranteed. Mr. Higgins’ knowledge of phonetics replaces Pygmalion’s sculpting capacity, and Mr. Higgins ostensibly triggers a transition in Eliza as a result of this knowledge. Eliza’s transformation, on the other hand, is very different from Galatea’s sculpting.

Pygmalion alone is responsible for the development of Galatea. From the ivory block, she emerges completely developed. Eliza’s transition is dynamic and multilayered, in contrast to her simplistic conception. She must not only adjust the way she talks, but also the way she appears and dresses. Of course, Mr. Higgins is too busy to help Eliza with her bathing and dressing, but he does share his understanding of grammar with her. Also, Eliza’s abrupt shift in voice isn’t completely down to Mr. Higgins’ work, as a careful reading can reveal. Eliza is transformed by her own experience and dedication, as well as Mr. Higgins’ knowledge and instruction. Another contrast in the development is that, while Eliza appears and sounds noble, she does not speak as one. Her vocabulary is always a little rough, and the subjects she addresses are a little inappropriate. Her transformation is warped, and she never completely comprehends the beauty represented in Carlos Parada’s story. Eliza’s dismissal of Mr. Higgins leads to society’s current feminist understanding of women. Of course, this plot point differs dramatically from that of this novel, in which Pygmalion and Galatea fall in love and have a child together. Mr. Higgins is dismissed by Eliza because of the various ways he mistreated her in the play. The scenes after the ball, where Eliza passes for a lady of the upper class, have a significant influence on Eliza’s character. Eliza is anxious about the future. She no longer knows where she belongs and wants more, and she is terrified of losing everything she has achieved as a result of her transition. Mr. Higgins dismisses her fears, believing that her issues will be fixed by marriage. Eliza leaves a life with Mr. Higgins in the play’s final scene because of his inability to regard her with kindness or dignity. This is a simple feminist understanding of Carlos Parada’s “happily ever after” story.

Why does Galatea think for Pygmalion and want to be with him? Since it was not the point of the play, this issue is unlikely to have occurred to the ancient Greeks. The modern reader, on the other hand, may wonder who Galatea wishes to be and whether Pygmalion is a good fit for her. In his novel, Shaw attempts to answer these questions. Pygmalion, he concludes, does not genuinely love Galatea; rather, he loves himself, his work, and his abilities, and thus is undeserving of Galatea’s love. How could a man who hated womankind to the point of inventing his own love be able to love even that woman? And then there’s the matter of how any woman might be doomed to the destiny of living with a man who despises women? He can’t love her, and no woman should be treated this way. Eliza’s abandoning of Mr. Higgins concludes the deconstruction, claiming that Galatea’s character is an impossibility; since every woman has power over her fate, she must leave the man who will only destroy her life.

Carlos Parada’s plot is totally reframed in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. He employs a modern setting of 19th century England to critique the notion of making the ideal woman, putting it under the scrutiny of feminist criticism. He analyzes the various interpretations and consequences of each plot point as he deconstructs it. He deconstructs the narrative and then reassembles it using critical feminist philosophy as a guide. Pygmalion examines a text that only embraces the dominant male view on certain issues in order to answer questions of male-female relationships and the female right to choose.

Pygmalion Reflection

Pygmalion by George Bernard is a play where we can see differences in levels of wealth and how looks and impressions impact our social status. Eliza in this play experiences firsthand how all it takes to become upper class is to change her voice and clothes, she attempts to lose her natural accent and general mannerisms, in hopes to attend the Embassy ball. Higgins sees this as being an experiment and does not even seem to see Eliza as a person and instead of a test subject. He does not attempt at all to learn about who Eliza is, and instead just immediately starts trying to fix her vocabulary and the sound of her voice.

Language is the main focus it seems when it came to Higgins transforming Eliza from a “Flower Girl” to what he thought a woman should look and be heard as. Judging someone by the way they use their language is still relevant in today’s society, people will assume your intelligence and views on subjects immediately, even sometimes from only hearing the tone of your voice and not even your usage of the language that you speak. We see this in the movie when Eliza is at the Embassy Ball and she speaks to a man who seems to be an expert of the English language, he tells his friends after speaking with Eliza that she is not speaking pure English, he thinks it is too good to be true and proceeds to call her a fake. The play shows us this judgment of class through language at the Embassy Ball, which is a very high-class event and people are judged incredibly hard. If the movie were put in the setting of say a high school, you would find them similar. We don’t look at how people really are and judge the surface looks and sound rather what’s actually under the surface just as Higgin’s did with Eliza though he was too much more of an extent.

Language is a massive part of how we see people, add a few intelligent words to your vocabulary and you will sound much more intelligent sometimes even a different person. When I look at Eliza it made me realize how little the barrier can be between upper-class and lower-class people in looks and sound. The lower class may have less money compared to the upper class but could fit in just great if they spoke a little different and dressed in a suit or dress every day, then you wouldn’t be able to tell whatsoever who is lower and who is upper class. Just because someone speaks differently than what you are used to does not mean that they are incapable of anything you can do.

Personal Response to Pygmalion

I really enjoyed this movie, it kept me captivated for a lot of it. Unfortunately I slept during some parts but obviously they weren’t that important because I still understood the story. The topics I will talk about is “Language as a badge, emblem, or marker of social class”, “Comedy as a way to criticize society and motivate social change”, “The connections between language and education”, and “Is society today anything like the society we see in Pygmalion?”

Language as a badge, emblem, or marker of social class in Pygmalion is very prominent we can see during the high class party where she is passed off as a duchess, with her new posh accent, she is seen as a duchess than her normal flower girl with her previous accent. Without this new accent she would be seen in a much different light than she was normally. If she had all the clothes, makeup, and look she would still be seen in a different light if she had her original accent, she may be thought as a thief if she had her original accent with all these fancy clothing/look, and probably the opposite if she had a posh accent with poor clothes saying like someone took it. Another example of Language being used in this sense would be Higgins over all thought to him, during parts of the movie I really thought he had somewhat of an ego, and I think this is due to his studies which is Phonetics.

The connections between language and education is very strong in this film, usually the posher the accent the higher the education, and vice versa (the type of accent Ms.Doolittle has) would be assumed to have a lower education or no education.

Comedy as a way to criticize society and motivate social change, I feel as though it is good to have Comedy criticize anything in general and motivate social change. The usually connotation with social change could possibly be more serious and maybe only appeal to older people, if you put it in comedy it can be seen by more people in a different light which may cause others to feel more inclined to motivate social change. People shouldn’t exactly need things to be in a different light to be able to support it, but it helps.

Is society today like anything the society we see in Pygmalion?              I feel as though there is many aspects that are similar like education and  . Education is very similar today, because if you have no education you aren’t seen as poor necessarily, but that is usually the connotation and if anything having a lot of education can make you poor/in debt because of student loans.

Overall I find the movie to be very enjoyable with plenty light-hearted, serious, and sometimes comedic scenes.

Personal Response: Pygmalion

While watching Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, I realized how deeply ingrained the idea of male chauvinism and glow up culture is present in our society. My first impression about Eliza Doolittle is that she is just trying to get a better life for herself by undergoing an extreme transformation. Doolittle is handcrafted into Higgins prefect little creature, to the point where he thinks no one else but him should “have” her. 

The idea of “male chauvinism” and “glow-up” culture disturbs me. In the media, we see this trope of glowing up: a way of expressing one’s growth through a drastic change in appearance, usually making the character more visually acceptable to societal beauty standards. These young women in the media go through a vast transformation in popular movies and TV shows, such as Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries, She’s All That, and many more.

Why is there such a big presence of glow ups in the media? Why do we enjoy a typical makeover? We see these makeovers in coming of age or romantic movies. No surprise but these makeovers are toxic towards women. The women in these films are physically changing to fit society’s ideal beauty standards of that time. This discriminates against a vast majority of young girls and women. But it also says that if you want to change to become a “better person” or experience some sort of growth, you’ll have to change your appearance to fit this ideal beauty. Not only is changing your looks to fit this ideal problematic but it is also with the help of a man. The men in these movies are shown as “trying” to help their romantic interest by making their conquests more socially acceptable. Like in Pygmalion, Higgins buys and teaches Doolittle everything, to the point of her not having a say of what she wants to be. In all of the before mentioned movies, all of the women go through a transformation not by their own prerogative, but by someone telling them they have too, or by someone helping them change. This change usually stripes the main character of their usual charm.

I believe that we should move away from physical transformation in the media and focus more on discovering one’s inner values. I think it is important to have a clean appearance, but we should be able to express ourselves and our flaws. In Pygmalion, it upsets me that Doolittle couldn’t get a job because of the way she speaks. Without Higgins’s or Pickering’s help there would be no way for Doolittle to get out of poverty. It is interesting that society puts so much value on looks; does this really enhance what’s important to our inner values?

Pygmalion: Personal Response

Through George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, we see a world represented by different English accents as a social barrier between the elite and society’s dregs. Eliza Doolittle is a poor flower-girl who wishes to behave like a lady to make her life somewhat better.  Henry Higgins thought this would be an excellent opportunity to train her to improve her grammar, gestures, and appearance. Just some work and effort would make her one of the elites in London.

Once Eliza was ready to change her appearance, it was surprising how shocked she was looking at herself; many others like her did not care about their accent or actions as long as they made enough money to support themselves. However, I don’t particularly appreciate how Higgins treats Eliza; she is a person with emotions; he should put aside his ego and be kind and behave like a gentleman, but instead treats the lower class like his objects. It is startling how he is trying to change Eliza to become a lady, but he is an arrogant bachelor instead of a kind gentleman. I found the play humourous, mainly when Higgins referred to Eliza with numerous names, specifically a “squashed cabbage leaf.” It was humourous yet quite disrespectful.

London’s citizens had established different social classes; everyone worldwide has different inflections and pronunciations, which is not bad. One of the reasons I felt what Eliza feels is because I am also someone from many other places with several accents, so I understand how difficult it is to speak in a different accent and try to fit into society. I found some parts of the play quite relatable to the Asian community. Such as when Higgins would make Eliza study until late at night, even though she was practically crying, saying she couldn’t do it anymore, he still didn’t let her give up. Higgins was not rude in this situation but simply trying to educate Eliza as she requested to become more ladylike.

I tried to connect this play to my daily life, and I realized, even though Higgins is portrayed as an arrogant bachelor, I like his character the most. He doesn’t beat around the bush, and I find my words quite similar to his. “Have a little cry, and say your prayers, and that’ll make you comfortable.” Eliza was ungrateful after all that Higgins has done for her; he said this phrase because most people cry or pray when they are upset or angry.  He did not appreciate her much; he treated her like a flower girl and not a lady. Mrs. Higgins and Mr. Pickering express that women need to be appreciated from time to time; every woman deserves to be treated like a lady regardless of socioeconomic class. Everyone must be treated kindly, regardless of gender, race, or social class.

I think what happens to Eliza after Higgins’ work is not his responsibility. She is an adult woman capable of making her own decisions and taking responsibility for her own life. I want to describe society as a mould, which requires everyone to behave a sure way to be accepted and fit in. It’s okay to be different; that’s what makes us unique; it is not wise to pressure ourselves to fit into a society filled with people judging us.

Personal Response: Pygmalion

George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion shows the language as a class barrier, Shaw underscores the unbending progressive system of English society through an assortment of characters at various socioeconomic levels. The power of language to get through friendly obstructions is completely acknowledged in Eliza’s change, it’s that she can take only Higgins language which cuts her off from her previous life. One of the symbols in the play is mirror. In act II, Eliza is shocked to find a mirror in her new bathroom, she doesn’t know which way to look and finally hangs a towel over it. It represents the moment Eliza unguardedly sees herself as she truly is, dirty, disheveled and far from ladylike in her personal habits. Eliza’s glimpse in the mirror reveals to her the need for a change and the result of taking a shower proves that is possible, thus the mirror symbolizes self-awareness and identity. Appearance and identity serve as indicators of social class, language, dress, wealth, manners and morality, these signs are superficial. The transformation that Eliza, a poor flower girl turns into a self-reliant woman. It occurs under the tutelage of Higgins. He didn’t realize that his experiment represented a more important transformation than class. It was the awakening of Eliza’s soul. However, I was a piece baffle about the completion since I don’t comprehend why Eliza said she stands alone yet still feels like she needs to remain with Higgins. 

Higgins is careless about people’s feelings, this trait becomes most evident in his experiment of Eliza whom he transforms from a flower girl into an upper class lady, his inability to see and treat Eliza as anything more than an experiment forces her to take a stand of independence unchanged by the end of the play. Mrs. Higgins soon discerns the problems that her son’s experiment will cause for Eliza; her affection for Higgins does not shield her irritation at his lack of manners. I like Mrs. Higgins a lot because she is intelligent and perceptive. I actually think the speechless thing is the means by which Higgins took Eliza in while never considering what might befall her a short time later. I feel like at last Higgins doesn’t want to part with Eliza because he doesn’t want to let go of his creation, his successful experiment result. Anyhow, the film was interesting to watch.

 

My Personal Response To “Pygmalion” by George B. Shaw

In the play “Pygmalion” by George B. Shaw, we see a similar, if not identical storyline to “My Fair Lady”. In both playwrights, we see how a highly respected professor/gentleman decides to help a loss class woman get off the streets and become a member of the high society by teaching her how to become proper through grammar, vocabulary and etiquette lessons as well as basic everyday gestures.
Although the storyline portrays the ideals of “an ugly duckling becoming a beautiful swan”, there is much more which the naked eye might not perceive. The Victorian Era in which it takes place shows much more about a human’s natural sense of protection and needs to “do the right thing”, which in modern time is something I believe we have lost thought of. We as a race have become greedy and self-absorbed, forgetting that most people that are on the streets, in poor houses, etc. are not there by choice, but by lack of guidance and morale of society.
We can use Skid Row, for example, this is one of the poorest areas in the entirety of the United States of America. Originally starting off as a city area where the homeless could find shelter and somewhat comfort has now become overthrown by gangs, homeless people and erroneous propaganda. How did it get this bad? The decline of this sector comes from the huge increase in unemployment rates in the country, and since many people are badly educated or not educated at all, in most cases they aren’t even given the chance to get a job to pull themselves out of the “slums”.
We see a great representation of this when Eliza wanders the streets she once was from after having a large argument with Professor Higgins about her integrity and morals.
Another topic that is largely shown throughout the play is “self-respect”. This all begins in the first few minutes of the play when we see Ms Doolittle trying to sell flowers to the people around her and someone makes a comment about Professor Higgins writing down what she says (her method of selling merchandise by making others feel pity for her, therefore pushing them to support her in whatever way they can to feel as though they have done “a good deed”). Later on, we see it when she enters Professor Higgins’ home and is questioned by him about her means to pay as well as her true hunger for improvement whilst the “maid” of the home attempts to persuade Professor Higgins to listen to her and not throw her out. The most important and shocking scene where we see this is near the end of the play when the professor and Ms Doolittle get into an argument at night when he questions her character and integrity accusing her of stealing his things or attempting to whilst he sleeps for which Ms Doolittle at this point in time comprehends her worth and chooses to leave that night and show herself the self-respect which she has deserved for herself the entire time.
In my opinion, this play is a great example, especially for young women or women of all ages about growth, self-worth, respect and overall, values. It taught me the true meaning of how it does not matter what is on the outside, but it is within you what truly makes you, “you!”. So, in better use of words, I loved this play, it made me smile, laugh and even cry a little bit, but all those emotions came from truly understanding what it means to be human and what society has become versus what it should be.

Personal Response: Pygmalion

George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion encompasses social class to show how the gap between the rich and the poor can be easily manipulated. Shaw had used his character, Eliza Doolittle, as a main representation of the working-class during the 20th century. Aside from Eliza Doolittle within the movie, many poor men and women were living in central London. People worked hard for food and cared less about their appearance since appearance had little benefit towards their survival if they were poor. There was manipulation with Eliza since she was changed due to another person’s wealth, not because of herself. Although Eliza worked by selling flowers, she was still a poor working-class woman, she had a job that made little to no money, jobs like this were common for the poor. If a poor person wanted to become wealthy this want was nothing more than hope.

Belief in social class and one’s social manners to be true can be undeniably false within Pygmalion. Someone’s class can be changed by changing their manners and their behavior to being proper. Eliza became a ‘proper’ woman, meaning she changed her accent, behavior, manners, and appearance to appeal to those wealthier. She had changed not because of herself but because of Professor Henry Higgins who found it an amusing challenge to change such a poor woman. Higgin’s being a wealthy middle-class linguist had the knowledge and the wealth to change everything about Eliza Doolittle. He changed her cockney accent to an upper-class English accent. I find it surprising that one’s accent during the 1900s could distinguish their class, it just shows how the idea of status changed people.

 

 

 

Personal Response: Pygmalion

George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion portrays male chauvinism mainly through Henry Higgins. He is privileged, egoistic, and insensitive towards other people, especially towards women and those from a lower class. He is irresponsible like a child in many ways, yet he can easily determine Eliza’s future.

At the start of the play, Higgins is portrayed as a note-taker. He observes the crowd as subjects of study, not as real, living people. He is unable to show compassion towards those from a lower class and mocks Eliza of her accent when she is worried about being arrested. When Higgins brought Eliza into the lessons, he never once considered what would happen to Eliza after the challenge. Even when Mrs. Pearce warned him about what would happen to Eliza, he confessed that he couldn’t care less. To him, giving Eliza lessons is just a  “fun challenge” to prove his ability and satisfy his ego, but for Eliza, it dramatically changes her life and her identity. It must have been horrible to be given a new identity in a “better life,” but only temporarily so that she would need to fall back into the gutter again. It is incredibly cruel. If Eliza never attended Higgins’s lessons and was always a flower girl, she wouldn’t need to ever worry about “middle-class morality” or be concerned with Higgin’s patriarchy.

In Greek mythology, Pygmalion falls in love with his statue. Although he “talked to it with words of love and brought to it the kind of gifts that are thought to please girls,” (The myth of Pygmalion) a statue is still an object. Eliza as a flower girl is just a piece of ivory. As Higgins taught her upper-class dialect and transformed her into a lady, she is carved into a statue.  But there is no Aphrodite to “bring the statue to life.” From the way I interpret it, when she returned to Higgins at the end, she “transformed” from a statue into a human, or rather, a woman. Although the play makes us wonder about issues regarding the status of women, it is curious why Shaw still decides to use this ending. From the film, I got the impression that Higgins fears Eliza’s parting more because he cannot let go of his masterpiece creation. But I wonder why Eliza feels the need to stay with him. One way to interpret it is that Eliza, although claiming that she now stands on her own, still feels the need for security and status that she would receive from Higgins. Perhaps she has feelings for him as well. As we see from The Merchant of Venice, love, or affection is often accompanied by the desire for power. While Higgins needs Eliza to stay with him to satisfy his ego, Eliza also needs Higgins to secure her social status, and keep her identity as an upper-class lady.

No matter if this ending was a happy one, or how it could have ended differently, I still think the cruellest thing is how Higgins took Eliza in without ever thinking about what would happen to her afterwards. Although the film portrays this casually and even comedically, it is still very difficult to watch. But I enjoyed how these heavy problems are revealed from its light-hearted appearances. The film was entertaining to watch, yet we can unpack many things from it.

 

 

Personal Response to the Pygmalion Film

In George Bernard Shaw’s adaptation of Pygmalion, Higgins adopts an egocentric saviour complex, the moment he meets Eliza Doolittle. During their first encounter, Higgins uses her accent as an indicator of her social class, then places her into a box accordingly. He doesn’t bother getting to know her, nor does he accept that she’s a person beneath her accent, profession, and clothes. Throughout the play, Eliza is just Higgins’ creature, his sculpture, his game. He has an objective to save her, and he will reach that goal, regardless of whether or not she wants to be saved. In the myth of this story, Pygmalion falls in love with a statue of his own creation. In the film, Henry views Eliza in a similar manner, because he refuses to look past his own prejudices. He transforms her from a poor flower girl to a lady; from rags to riches. He attributes her rising status to himself, which feeds his ego. Later in the film, once Eliza has proved successful, we can see his pride surface. To him, he created her success; she was nothing without him, but now she’s somebody. This nature, Higgins’ self-proclaimed heroism, is often associated with privilege. We most often see similar mannerisms in people like himself: upper-class, rich, white males. He leads a comfortable, high society lifestyle, and expects that everyone wants that. He views people of lower classes as subservient. Therefore, when he decides to ‘save’ Eliza, to transform her into someone that she isn’t, he thinks he’s doing her the utmost service. Since he fails to listen to and empathize with Eliza, Higgins lacks perspective, and his actions fall short. He may think he’s doing a good thing, but that thought process stems to his naivety and privilege.

In response to Higgins’ aforementioned actions, we can visibly see Eliza’s pain. As Henry ‘modifies’ every detail about Eliza—from her accent to her appearance—he’s telling her that being herself is not good enough. Then, when he finally allows the ‘new and improvedEliza to enter society, he instructs her to stick to small talk on two topics: the weather and her health. At social gatherings, she is limited to superficial chitchat, rather than real conversations. She is deprived of authenticity, which essentially tells her that along with her accent and her appearance, her mind is dissatisfactory, too. Finally, in a rare moment of authenticity, Eliza lets her raw emotions surface, showing Higgins and the audience her pain. She had been dragged through this entire process, subject to scrutiny, and still failed to receive a gesture of appreciation from Higgins. Like in A Doll’s House, Eliza is treated as a puppet, with a man serving as the puppet-master! Both Nora and Eliza were forced into inferior, compliant roles, as many women were confined to in relationships. But contrary to most, Nora and Eliza were able to speak up against their mistreatment, which was a luxury that many couldn’t afford. However, when Eliza finally speaks up to Henry, he treats her arguments as invalid and childish, which only increases the pain she feels. Essentially, she is told that she’s inadequate for being herself, but when she changes, she’s still undervalued as a person. It seems impossible for her to truly succeed, to both her standards, and society’s standards.

I was incredibly underwhelmed by the ending of the film. It frustrated me that Eliza ends up going back to Henry, because that negates her prior actions and words! Higgins treats her so poorly, and never once apologizes for his behaviour, yet she still returns to him. He only falls in love with her after he completely changes her, showing her that it’s in fact his adjustments that he loves, not her. When she leaves his house, gaining independence, she shows a great deal of courage and self-respect. Yet moments later, she retracts that boundary-breaking power, and replaces it with a classic ‘happily-ever-after’. This reminded me of Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women. In this adaptation, we see two endings play out: the traditional one, where Jo ends up in love and married, and the unexpected ending, where Jo ends up independent, single, and accomplished having published her book. This film discusses similar ideas to Pygmalion, regarding the “well-made play”, and endings that will please readers. In these times, endings weren’t desirable if a woman ended up alone. She needed to be married or in a relationship, because how would it be a good ending if she wasn’t? Marriage (or a relationship) was the ultimate conclusion, the best result, the badge of happiness. In Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, Jo is forced to write her protagonist a ‘happily ever after’ with a man, in order to sell her novel. I wonder if George Bernard Shaw faced the same obligations. I haven’t read the play yet, but I believe the ending is different, leading me to wonder whether this ending was modified for the film audience’s satisfaction. Would the ending be the same if he created the film today, rather than in 1938? How much do societal standards affect the creation of literature? I, personally, would have enjoyed the ending far more if Eliza kept her distance from Higgins. It would have solidified the feminist ideas that she preached earlier. This ending was far too neat and tidy, making it contradictory. Though, in certain ways, this could also humanize Eliza, and show that she prioritizes love above independence (and potentially self-respect, though that’s an entirely different conversation). Unfortunately, this ending tainted certain aspects of the film. However, I’m eager to read the play and analyze the effects of the different endings.

Pygmalion: Personal Response

George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (1938) explores how language can maintain, or change, one’s social status. This issue is one very near and dear to me, as my grandmother was born in Northern England and worked very hard to lose her ‘lower-class’ accent when she moved to Canada. I could easily see her story emulated in Eliza Doolittle’s– my grandmother became quite a well known singer and attended many upper-class parties after getting rid of her accent, just as Eliza becomes (or, at least, pretends to be) a lady and attends the embassy ball after getting rid of hers. Because of these personal connections, I found Pygmalion (1938) all the more fascinating.

Eliza evolves not only in her way of speaking, but also her way of being. I considered while watching the play the relationship between these two evolutions. Could it be construed that Eliza becomes stronger and more independent because she learns to speak like a lady? It is certainly one interpretation, but not one that I prefer. It would imply that a lady can be strong and independent, but a pauperess cannot. Or, in other terms, that an upper-class person is, in fact, better and more capable, and only by becoming one can a lower-class person be better and more capable. This does not seem to fit with the criticisms of the wealthy imbedded in other parts of the play either, so I decided to discount it. However, I do still hold a strong belief that the way we speak– whether it be dialect or language– influences the way we think and the way we are. In this play, that idea is explored more in relation to how the way we speak influences the way other people perceive us rather than how it influences our internal processes.

The realities of dialect classism in England are both fascinating and dreadful (as with many things in history and current events). It struck me while watching just how far humans go to find differences instead of similarities. Throughout all of history, discrimination has been prevalent: from skin colour to gender, religion to nationality, sexual preference to monetary means, we seem to go to great extents to ostracize each other. Eliza is not even being discriminated against for being any of those things though (at least, not mainly– there are some gender role undertones of course), instead she is being discriminated against for speaking the same language as Higgins but in a slightly different way. These two people have so much in common– both born in the same country, both living in the same city, both of the same race– and yet still, they find a difference between them and focus on it. How different a world could we have if we the first we saw wasn’t difference, but similarity? Humanity’s penitent for making everyone ‘outsiders’ is possibly one of the greatest flaws we have as a species.

I do not think that Eliza should have had to adopt a new accent to be taken seriously, nor do I think my grandmother should have had to. We obliterate so much fascinating culture and history when we recklessly assimilate everything in our paths. Diversity has always been a blessing. Which species get wiped out? Those whose genepools are not diverse enough to survive a virus. Which people get malnourished? Those whose diets are not diverse enough to sustain their bodies varying needs. Which people are most stuck in their ideologies? Those who have never been exposed to differing ones. It seems abundantly clear that diversity is a strength, not a weakness. If we find something different, we need not force it into similarity. Instead, we should appreciate it and learn from it. I wish my grandmother had had people who were willing to appreciate and learn from her so that she had not been forced to change herself to ‘fit in.’ I’m grateful to this play for drawing attention to these prevalent issues.

“A DOLL’S HOUSE” BY HEINRICH IBSEN

“A Doll’s House” by Heinrich Ibsen portrays the concepts of love, deception, trust and gender bias. As we know, the play takes time in the early/mid 19th century, during this time there is a huge difference between men and women; men are the leaders of the households, they work and maintain income for their family, whilst the women are the ones who raise the children, aren’t allowed to work and are married off as soon as they reach maturity.


At the beginning of the play, we are introduced to Mr and Mrs Helmer. At first one might believe that they are a perfect family with not many struggles, but as we begin to discover who are main characters are in more detail throughout the play, we realise that their relationship is quite odd as well as deceitful. We can use the example of a scene where Mr Helmer is upset with Mrs Helmer, he claims her to be and act like a child, but the hypocrisy comes whenever we see that Mrs Helmer whilst acting as a child at times asks Mr Helmer for support and guidance and without any question, he coddles her and allows it. This is where we can see an interpretation of the saying “Do as I say, not as I do”.


Throughout the play, we also see the concept of deception, when Nora is constantly asking for extra money for “Christmas Presents” which is true to pay off debts that she has from her previous endeavours. Mr Helmer, clueless of his wife as well as their life, conceits to it but later on finds out the truth.


In this play, we see over and over how deception that every single adult character in the play portrays. We see it in Christine as well as in Krogstad when they both decide to team up in order to bring the Helmer household down.


Overall, I personally did like the play since we see how in today’s world vs the older times, there is more acceptance of imperfect people, there is not as large of a gender bias, nor is there as much lack of opportunity, that being said, I personally would not recommend this to anyone. But I will also like to add, that whenever we go over plays like these, I think it is smart to compare the kind of education people received back then vs now and see the impact it has on society.

Personal Response to A Doll’s House

Role play appears to be the norm of the in A Doll’s House. Rather than being their own selves, the play’s protagonists pretend to be someone that others wish them to be. Nora is the one who stands out the most as a character whose acting is almost perfect, to the point that she seems to have two lives. Nora gives the impression of an obedient, money-hungry, immature wife to the viewer. Nora seems to only want money from Torvald in the first act. She does not waste much time in asking for money after telling Torvald what she just got for their kids in their first meeting. Even when asked what she wants for Christmas, she says money. Torvald treats Nora as though she were a child or even a horse, which is revolting, “my little songbird shan’t go trailing her wings now. Hmm? Is my squirrel standing there sulking?” (Page. 111). He seems to be conversing with a little girl. And he says it while handing her money, making their exchange feel like a grown grandfather handing money to his precious, beloved young granddaughter. Nora seems to be more of a cherished possession than an equal partner in marriage as a result of all of this. Nora is introduced to the reader as a simple-minded, faithful trophy-wife in this way by Ibsen. The audience is unaware, however, that this is just Nora’s position in the household.

Nora seems to finally grasp what she has seen and what needs to be done at this stage when Torvald is furious at her for what she has done when he discovers the debt he ows and Nora’s forgery. She now recognizes that she has not been herself since they have been married. She claims, “When I look at it now… I’ve lived by doing tricks for you, Torvald. But that was how you wanted it.” (Page. 182). She realizes now that she has become nothing more than a source of amusement for her husband, who will make her dance for him. And, as much as Torvald may have chastised her for her immature actions in the end, Nora points out that it was for doing the tricks and acting like a doll was what he admired in her.

Nora justifies her decision to leave the house by claiming that she has to think more about herself “But now I intend to look into it. I must find out who is right, society or me.” (Page. 185). Nora is now portrayed as a calm, conscious human being who understands that not everything one is told must be followed. She recognizes that there are aspects of culture and its traditional beliefs with which she may disagree, and which may be incorrect. Torvald then offers to teach her, but she declines because she realizes she must educate herself, or at the very least away from him. She also mentions that they never spoke serious things, which she thinks is why she believes he isn’t qualified to teach her, as well as the fact that he has looked down on her since they met.

Nora appears as a self-assured, strong-willed woman who knows just what she wants. Nora is not only Ibsen’s way of showing women’s strength of character, but she also helps to show women as human beings on par with men. Nora also mentions that, aside from the misconception of women as the lesser sex, some aspects of society. Nora’s presence in a double life demonstrates much of this. On the surface, she appears to be a sweet, fun doll to her husband, father, and even her friend Mrs. Linde, but it is only after they hear about her secret life that they begin to admire her for more than just a pretty girl. Nora can use her second life to show that she can work, that she can deal with a lot of pressures, and that she can do whatever she puts her mind to. This secret life is what eventually leads to her being saved from the doll house, as she refers to it, and encouraging her to research and think freely about herself and society.

Personal response to The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice is an enthralling Shakespearean play with a cast of compelling characters. Shylock, it must be noted, has the audience’s concentration from beginning to finish. The reality that Shylock is a Jew living in a Christian-run city is the most important aspect of his personality. These Christians despise everything Shylock adores and cherishes. They despise the fact that he is a money lender, and his religion holds him in low regard. When Shylock is defending himself, he delivers the play’s most prominent monologue. Any Christian character in the play has a negative attitude toward him. A “misbeliever, [a] cut-throat dog and spit on[his] Jewish gabardine,” they call him (1.3.106-107). Shakespeare, on the other hand, does not portray Shylock as just a survivor. In reality, Shylock’s defense of his predicament is one of the most stirring and thought-provoking speeches in literature. “I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is?” (3.1.52-57).

Nevertheless, he can be a profoundly nasty character with all his admirable humanism. His own daughter resents him, takes advantage of others’ economic hardships, and mistreated his servant, Lancelot. He is concerned about the missing money as his daughter runs away, takes money and jewels with her, hoping that she was “dead at [his] foot and the jewels in her ear,” (3.2.79-80). What makes Shylock so interesting is that learning how to respond to him is very challenging. As one closely studies the play, one learns that Shylock has several important motivations to act as he does. While he treats Antonio despicably, without reason, he is not as we have seen. The latter has “spat on” him, “spurned” him, and “called [him] dog.” by his own admission. In comparison, Antonio is completely dismissive of the complaints made by Shylock. “In fact, he even goes as far as promising to do the same again, “I am as like to call thee so again, to spit on thee again, to spurn thee too” (1.3125-126). The idea that he accepts an all-consuming hate fueled by a need to gain revenge at any cost is what makes Shylock’s character so interesting, “If I can catch him once upon the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him” (1.3.41-42).

As a result, in order to beat Antonio, he devises a heinous scheme. Since Shylock’s plots are exposed, Shakespeare disturbs the reader once again, and he is brought to justice. The play spends a lot of time discussing the philosophy of justice and the quality of grace. When Shylock, on the other hand, puts himself at the hands of the judge, Christian justice is revealed for what it is. “Be assur’d, thou shalt have justice more than thou desirest” (4.1.313-314). In the heartbreaking courtroom scene, we see a serious abuse of judicial power. Shylock is forced to abandon his faith and give Antonio half of his wealth, with the other half going to the daughter who betrayed him. Despite his crimes, the sight of a broken and almost destitute Shylock remains difficult to bear. Shylock is an interesting character for me because he evokes so many contradictory emotions in me. I was disgusted by his botched assassination of Antonio, as well as outrage and pity at the scene of the crime. Despite the fact that the play is titled The Merchant of Venice, it is mostly about Shylock, the Jewish moneylender.

Personal Response to The Doll’s House

The Doll’s House is a story based on one of Ibsen’s friend her name is Laura Kieler and the part that is based on her is Nora and Torvald she had something similar happen where she took out an illegal loan to save her husband.

My thoughts on the Doll House, I think the story was very good and usually kept my attention for a lot of it, I’m not very good at staying on track with books but the movie really was good it kept my attention without me feeling bored. So that’s good but here are the reasons why I feel like it kept my attention for such a long time without getting distracted. Even some parts of the book did this as well.

First thing being that there is almost always something happening in the story, for example, when Mrs. Linde comes back to Nora’s home after Krogstad put the letter filled with the bad things Nora did. Mrs., Linde says that she used to have a relationship with Krogstad so she could go talk to him, and while that is happening Nora is trying to stall Torvald from looking in the glove box, this is one of the first ways the story keeps my attention. It is small ways that Nora is trying to stall Torvald, you can really see her emotion and how she is desperate for him not to see the letter in the letterbox.

Second things being the emotions in the story, to be fair I can only read emotion sometimes in the book but in the movie it conveys it a lot better which should be what a movie does but besides that the Emotions to me play a big part in how you interpret something some of the emotions that stuck out the most and convey the most is especially when Nora learns the truth about her marriage with Torvald while she is calm, with no expression, you can really feel this emotion of like realizing something bad about something you care about.

In all this book and movie are very nice. This is something I could read in my free time without falling asleep.

 

Letter to Langston Hughes

Dear Langston Hughes,

Towards the end of May in 2020, a police officer’s video of an African-American being choked to death in May prompted riots to flare up across America. When demonstrations started in the US after George Floyd’s death, the Black Lives Matter movement gripped the world.

Many differences exist between the topic of your poem As I Grew Older and the Declaration of Independence. The injustice against colored people born in America today remains one of the most important aspects. The Declaration of Independence guarantees such unalienable and God-given rights of all Americans. Your poem, on the other hand, expresses the exact opposite. It contains reality. You can clearly read between the lines in the second and third stanzas that all of these personal rights, such as “life,” “liberty,” and “pursuit of happiness,” are not true for all people living in America, the so-called “land of limitless possibilities.” The Declaration of Independence also states that not all Americans follow the constitution. It is as if you were subjected to true discrimination and racism. Many of your hopes and aspirations were overshadowed by these issues, and you were unable to really experience the American Dream. Martin Luther King mirrored this central theme used in the Declaration of Independence. In the final stanza, there is a historical reference to Martin Luther King.

“My hands!

My dark hands

Break through the wall!” (6.24-26)

I see that you are attempting to break free from this system, that you are trying to solve all of your problems, as well as the nation’s problems, in the same way that Martin Luther King tried to do. As a result, the promised rights of liberty and life do not apply to all Americans. Similarly, the “desire” is unfulfilled. This right is guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence, but how can anyone live a happier life if they are discriminated against by citizens of their own country? The “can-do” spirit disappears as well; one of the most critical aspects of the American Dream is possessing a pioneering spirit, a deep desire to achieve all of one’s goals. Unfortunately, much as you had to suffer, this “can-do” mentality disappears as someone is unable to live up to his own nature.

“I lie down in the shadow.

No longer the light of my dream before me,

Above me.

Only the thick wall.” (4.19-22)

These are the reasons I can see why you denounce the United States of America and therefore the American Dream so strongly in your poems. You want to be “free at last,” as anyone should, and as Martin Luther King put it in his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Owing to the killing of Breonna Taylor, a medical worker, rage and indignation were already brewing. On March 13, Taylor was murdered in a police raid that got out of control. Police said they had a warrant to search Taylor’s apartment for two suspects who were going to sell cocaine from her apartment to prosecute. Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, fired a cop in the leg after the police broke the door off his hinges. The police replied by firing five times at Taylor. Detective Brett Hankison, one of the cops who has been shot since then, is alleged to have blindly fired ten bullets into the apartment.

The campaign saw an uptick in interest in 2020 with the revival of Black Lives Matter in global headlines in the midst of global protests.

The world is revolving for the better. I am thankful to have had your poetry to further understand how it is and how is shouldn’t be.

Thank you,

Megan Siu

03/01/21, The Motivations of Krogstad

In A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, the character Krogstad is supposed to be the main antagonist in the story. Superficially, this is true because what he does in the story works against in both action and incentive against what the main character, Nora, is trying to accomplish. When Nora’s husband Torvald was ill, she was forced to find a way to raise money to allow Torvald to vacation to warmer climates to regain his health. Out of lack of option, she was forced to borrow that money from Krogstad, however this was an unsavoury option since Krogstad and Torvald are strong enemies. Torvald and Krogstad had known each other since childhood, and as adults ended up working at the same bank business. Krogstad loathed Torvald’s high salary and his higher ranking job at the bank, while Torvald loathed Krogstad for his previous crime of forgery and disrespectful demeanor towards Torvald. This conflict worsened when Torvald became head of the bank, and decided to evict Krogstad from his job.

Krogstad, in Nora’s favour, decided to threaten to inform Torvald that Nora was indebted to him, and that Torvald can’t evict him. Torvald is severely opposed to any form of credit or debt taking, believing it shows an unethical use of money, something he is willing to enforce to extreme measures. Therefore, Krogstad is portrayed as the bad character, for trapping Nora in a very difficult position and exploiting their transaction in a way that most benefits himself, which would take away the stability of Nora and Torvald’s relationship once Torvald uncovers the plot. He seems not to care what happens with Nora and Torvald, showing no compassion or thinking about other perspectives rather than his own.

Is Krogstad a bad person? That is probably not true. Krogstad has suffered lots during his life. His true love, Kristine Linde, chose to marry a rich man instead of him, making him feel despaired. Somehow, supposedly Krogstad widowed a wife a while later, yet kept two children he had with her, inciting that it was probably his wife that left him instead, for he kept the children. Krogstad was then in financial difficulty and was likely forced to resort to forgery in order to produce the money he needed. He was however discovered by the law, and had to run away, probably moving with his children to the town where Torvald and Nora live. In the film rendition of the play, we even see Torvald’s house, a poor ramshackle flat with little decoration. Hardly comparable to Torvald’s home, a well-furnished, embroidered, and ornate multi-level large house. Even more, being in trouble with the law, Krogstad’s options for finding new jobs were few, and he would find difficulty climbing the social ladder to respectability, something he desperately wanted.

Therefore it is hard to condemn Krogstad, for he has been disenfranchised from love, wealth, comfort, and reputability. Torvald however, has all four. Torvald, as a stickler for the law, does not realize the law did not ensure equity, but only justice. Krogstad, stuck in a hard place, was inhibited by the law and its believers to regain his stance. Therefore, he felt justified to exploit his contract with Nora to secure his job, or else he would lose his flow of income.

The character Krogstad portrays a common theme throughout society: condemnation of the poor, and the hypocrisy of the rich. Rich people, although they may be equitable in how they get their money, are damaging to more unfortunate people through being blind to their suffering. Their ignorance to these people is something that has always been around throughout history, from feudal kingdoms to the Soviet Union. The rich live off the backs of the poor, who are not defended by laws to ensure how well off they are. So although at first glance Krogstad may seem as an inconsiderate and exploitive person, further inspection shows that he is simply struggling to survive like many people before and after him. The law is not going to help him, therefore he disrespects it and its believers and chooses to enforce the safety of his job through the contract with Nora, even if he must cause some damage to other people in order to get there.

A Doll’s House

Throughout the play, Henrik Ibsen’s “doll house”, my views and feelings about the characters are constantly changing. At first, I thought Nora was a strong woman who had no choice but to play a naive, ignorant role, but as the plot developed, she was portrayed as a naive, sheltered young woman.

I don’t like Nora, I find her annoying. Towards the end of the third act, I think Torvald’s reaction to Nora’s incident is normal, I think everyone has impulsive moments, also he was oblivious of this secret for 8 years, and he said that it was against his principle to borrow a loan. “You wrecked my entire happiness now. You’ve gambled away my entire future for me. Oh, it’s too terrible to contemplate.”(Act III, p 178). I think it is reasonable how Torvald acted, his pride and reputation is very important for a man, don’t underestimate it. If Torvald has a bad reputation, who will earn money to financially support the family? What if it ends up like Krogstad’s situation? Even though Nora has good motives, she still crossed Torvald’s bottom line, which is borrowing money. At last, I was surprised that she made a decision to leave Torvald. I totally agree with her point of view, but the premise is that there are no children, because if she leaves suddenly, I feel she is very irresponsible and it is a selfish move that she made. However, everyone has their own flaws, and she is still learning and exploring herself so I was happy when she found out that she was important and finally stood up for herself.

I actually dislike Torvald too, the way he treated Nora as a doll. Calling her names like a “song-lark,” a “squirrel,” or a “little spending-bird.” I feel absolutely uncomfortable while watching the movie nor reading the book.

Personal Response to: A Doll’s House

A Doll’s House, written by Henrick Ibsen raised many questions about what is right and what is wrong when it comes to your dignity. Nora lives in a middle-class family, meaning they have the funds to live a pleasant life. However, the word pleasant will never be a safe way to describe this family. With a loan constricting Nora’s reputation, she finds herself pleasing her husband for money. This loan is not however the only problem within the family… The love and dignity we see within the story are not meant to be together. Nora loves Torvald but the moment Torvald shows doubt in his love for her Nora realizes that she no longer loves him. “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). This is something I feel most women during the 1870s would disagree with. While the man may think that his reputation is more important than love, the women would most probably want love over reputation. The essence in which holds a family together is love, and without it, even from one person, the family cannot live. 

Nora’s character encompassed the idea of love, regret, and change, we saw these ideas as the play progressed. Nora in the book showed love towards most of the characters. She loved: her three children, Ms. Linde, Mr. Rank, and Torvald… This strong bond she shared with all these people caused her to worry ever so more about the loan and Krogstad’s ability to ruin her family’s lives. We saw that she regretted signing the loan, even if she did not say anything, we could see the regret with her facial emotions. She was trapped and her love was the only thing keeping her together but at the same time breaking her life apart. 

Living in a middle-class family, Torvald seemed like an unpleasant husband to Nora because of how he held control over her. “When did my squirrel get home?” (p. 110). With constant animal names, it seemed as if Torvald was showing the difference between Nora and him. The difference is that he was a human, and she was his little animal, his doll. A doll is something children play with, something you keep. We see how Torvald plays around with his doll Nora. With animal names and love which seems one-sided, Nora is like an object to Torvald. He controls her because he is the man, and she accepts it. Nora acts accordingly as Torvald expects her too just so she can get money from him to pay off the loan which Torvald does not know about. 

Krogstad was never a villain, he only acted for his honor and his family, which is what made his actions seem evil. Within the book, there is no inclusion as to how Krogstad’s home looks. Viewing the movie made us sympathize with him even after what he said to Nora. We realize that Krogstad is barely living, he is poor and must take care of his children by himself, he has no one really to love. Not having even an ounce of love in his life made him commit forgery and this is what ruined his entire career moving forward.  

While with some characters we can sympathize with and others we cannot, A Doll’s House shows how love can change everything within your life, it can be what makes you happy, but it can also be what causes your pain. 

Act 3: A Dolls House PR

Ibsen’s a Doll’s House was not what I expected or was hoping for it to be. I was expecting a book showing women’s rights and feminist ideas being presented that was not very excepted at the time by society. I was thinking there would be a strong female with no choice but to behave in certain ways in order to get her there way but fight against this and become an individual. We only get this in the last ten pages of the book which originally confused me and frustrated me in a way. Throughout the majority of the book, we can see Nora behaving as if she was a child while being called names of a small frivolous figure such as “Little Songbird, Little Squirrel, Skylark and little dove.” We see Nora except these names, and it is incredibly frustrating to watch, I found the urge to just want her to stand up for herself and truly speak out of her own opinion. I did not understand why Ibsen didn’t write the play in order to show how strong Nora could be and how women should not be treated as pets and as people with the same feelings as men.

I disliked Nora’s character at the beginning of this book, but towards the end of Act three, her character began to make sense to me. At the beginning of the book, Nora’s spoiled attitude towards everything was annoying, for example when Mrs. Linde comes back into Nora’s life for the first time in years, she has had a rough ten years up to this point and explains it to Nora. Nora realizing this has an incredibly rude reaction, saying. “To be so utterly alone. What a heavy sadness that must be for you. I have three lovely children. Though you can’t see them at the moment, they’re out with their nanny. But now you must tell me everything.” (P. 116) This quote to me shows how clueless Nora is to how society is, she seems to think that everyone is just like her with plenty of money, kids, and a big warm house to live comfortably in with your family. She has been sheltered so much that these things do not occur to her in conversation and make her character come off as uneducated and ignorant. Ibsen Redeems Nora’s character in the book but does not do it until the last ten pages! Nora realizes after Torvald is finished being angry with her about the Loan that he is not the man that she in love with. She takes it into her own hands to then Leave her family and find herself in the world and how society actually is instead of living the masked version of life as she has been. This was the turning point in the book that I had been waiting for the whole time. Nora finally realizes the way she has been living and becomes an individual who makes her own decisions and this to me redeemed Nora’s character.

This book made me think about we as humans are able to make life barrable to continue waking up every day with something to work towards. Nora had no work to feel accomplished about or to work towards. Don’t get me wrong being a mother comes with lots of work on its own, but Nora did not do this work, the maids did the hard work of taking care of the kids. What I’m trying to say is, when a person is living comfortably with nothing to work towards since everything you have is fed to you, you begin to think about what your purpose is and what you are doing in life. Work is a necessary part of living it helps to have something to live for and a purpose. This reminds me of Brave new world in the sense that people cannot live a masked version of life constantly. Instead, they need to become conscious of what the real world is like, in Brave new world the people live constantly on the drug Soma just to consistently stay happy and not have worries about anything as if they were robots. Mrs. Linde also shows this when talking to Krogstad “I have to work if I am to endure this life. Every waking day, as far back as I can remember, I’ve worked and it’s been my only and greatest joy.” (P.167) Mrs. line needs work in order to survive and to her is her only joy. In order to stay content as a society, we need work to help motivate us to get up in the mornings and continue living.

Personal Response: A Doll’s House

“A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen is about love, hate, and trust. With love, you have Dr. Rank secretly loving Nora and finally confessing it later in the play, (Act II, pg. 150-155), Krogstad who loved Kristine years ago, and Nora’s and Torvald’s (Questionable) love. With hate, you have again Nora and Torvald at the end of the story, and Nora plus Torvald hating Krogstad throughout the play for the things he has done. But the big factor that comes into this play is trust. Putting trust in someone you strongly dislike is a dangerous game, like Nora and Krogstad had to do when Krogstad was blackmailing her and she had to promise she would get his job back (Act I, pg. 130-136). Then you have Nora and Torvald’s dilemma. Nora is keeping all these little promises and lying to Torvald throughout the play, and that break of trust at the end of the play when Torvald finds out what happened (Act III, pg. 177-188).

My thoughts on the play are quite mixed. It was a good read but got very boring at times. I felt that there was too much talking between characters and a lot of useless dialogue that did not need to be added. Then the characters weren’t developed enough. They felt so simple and nothing interesting about them and didn’t feel likable. One thing I didn’t understand is Nora forging the contract. Wouldn’t she have done a better job of putting the date of the signature? And why did she even admit to forging it? Everything would’ve been better off if she just left it as it was. For the setting, I didn’t understand the layout. They made it sound very confusing and did not know if it was a house or an apartment complex.
The one big thing I liked about this play was the plot. I felt they did a good job on building it and the diversity it had, like the writer mixing the dark and light sides of the story. I was quite confused about the language of the play. Even though it was set in the mid 19th century, it left like it wasn’t set back then.

One character I thought had the most build-up/developed was Krogstad. For me, he was considered the “villain” for a majority of the play, but once you consider that he just wanted to keep his job so he can feed and take care of his kids, you might have second thoughts if he was the villain, or if he just desperate and went into territory he didn’t want to step in. The one character that didn’t get enough attention in my opinion was Kristine. She played an important role in the play because if it wasn’t for her, Krogstad would not have gone and not have helped Nora from Torvald. My least favourite character was Torvald. Overall did not like him as a character. He was very diverse with emotion toward Nora and a few other characters. For example: When he found out about the forgery that Nora committed, he wanted to kill her, but once it was cleared up at that exact moment, he looked like nothing had happened and he loved her again (Act III, pg. 177-188).

Overall, it was quite a confusing read, but for the most part, I enjoyed reading it and was wondering what would happen next. A few of the characters could have had better development, and the setting could have been more straight-forward, but still an intriguing play.

Personal Response: A Doll’s House

In A Doll’s House by Henik Ibsen, we are introduced to the marriage of Nora Helmer and Torvald Helmer. Nora is introduced to us as a pretty and cheerful woman living out her days as a mother and wife. Torvald Helmer is represented as cold and strict, where his transitional views carry the play. Throughout the play, we slowly see the unraveling of their marriage, and Nora’s perspective of her own life changes dramatically.

I thoroughly enjoy this play, and it’s important input about gender roles and women rights. At times, it made me feel uncomfortable and embarrassed, mostly to do with Torvald and Nora’s relationship. Nora’s first appearance seems like she was there to “represent” all women of that time. She seemed naive and silly, brought up in a world where her only importance was to look pretty and bare children. She delightfully took the role as Torvald’s wife.“To be so utterly alone. What a heavy sadness that must be for you. I have three lovely children. Though you can’t see them at the moment, they’re out with their nanny. But now, you must tell me everything—“ (pg.116) Even when talking to a close friend, she only talks about herself, completely ignoring the fact that Ms. Linde has gone through the ringer. I thought this showed a lack of character, careless for others. As the play continues, we see her own selfish show again. When speaking to Dr. Rank in Act 2, he is expressing his troubles to her, and in response she states “Oh, you’re being quite unreasonable today. And just when I wanted you to be in a really good mood.”(pg.151). To me, this shows her lack of sympathy towards others than herself. She doesn’t comfort him but instead tries to manipulate him so she can get what she wants. I started to enjoy her character more in Act 3. It seemed like she completely changed in the span of two days, became a totally different person. I thought it was very impressive of her not only to leave but to talk to Torvald about why she is leaving, “It’s not so late yet. Sit down here, Torvald; you and I have a to talk about.”(pg.181) Running away is one thing, but this is different. She isn’t just leaving her “home”, but is telling him why, hopefully forever leaving an impact in his life. I also think being able to talk about your problems and how someone did you wrong takes a lot of courage, especially for being a woman in that time frame. She was more bold, and didn’t budge when Torvald asked her to stay. I felt more connected to her when she stood up to him, showing that she now wants to go and make her own in the world.

A Doll’s House shows us Nora’s breakdown of her “reality”, and her breaking free from society’s grasp on women. She is no longer playing a role, but becoming her own person. Even if she still carries some flaws, she is doing all of us a favour by standing up for what she believes in.

Personal response: A Doll’s House

Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House was uncomfortable to read for me. I dislike Torvald, not because of how he appears as an antagonist where he loathes borrowing a loan even if it is for his own sake; but it is rather because everything he says is contradictory. When he tells Nora, “I wouldn’t wish you any other way than exactly as you are,” (p. 113) he means that he doesn’t wish Nora any other way than a “song-lark,” a “squirrel,” or a “little spending-bird.” He cannot accept Nora in any other way and calls her “a hypocrite, a liar,” and a “criminal” when he finds out. (p. 178) He cannot accept the depth of Nora’s character and truly treats her like his possession; an object.  When Nora  finally talks to him on equal terms, he said, “you talk like a child.” (p. 185) However, when Nora acts like an actual child and asks for his guidance, he accepts it happily, which I find incredibly hypocritical and uneasy to watch. When Nora leaves him at the end, I thought I would be happy because Torvald is left alone and got what he deserved, but instead, it was not satisfying and I ended up feeling bad for Torvald. “To part—to part from you! Nora, I can’t grasp the thought.” (p. 187) Although Torvald remains masculine and a “husband-like” image throughout the play, he is fragile in the sense that he is afraid of living without Nora, even though he has less to lose than her. However, even though I feel bad for him, I still can’t forgive him especially when he proposed “but then can’t we live here as brother and sister–?” (p. 187) I wonder why do some people think this is even possible? Even till the end of the play, Torvald still cannot understand why Nora decides to leave him and the children, which upsets me the most.

I didn’t like Nora as a character at first, and I didn’t pity her very much or treat her as a victim. I thought she placed herself in the situation, and I particularly didn’t like how she borrowed a loan without understanding exactly how to repay it. “These kinds of transactions, you see, are so extremely difficult to keep track of.” (p. 123) But she didn’t have any other options other than to urgently borrow money to save Torvald’s life. If I were Nora, I wouldn’t have done any better. I also think she is far from ready to raise three children, even with the help of maids and a nanny.

Helmer: Not–? Not happy?

Nora: No; just cheerful. And you’ve always been so kind to me. But our home has never been anything other than a play-house. I’ve been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was Daddy’s doll-child. And the children, they have in turn been my dolls.” (p. 183)

It is not because of Nora’s “moral flaw” that makes her unqualified as a mother. It is because of how she has never fulfilled any duties to herself, or to live as a human being that makes her unable to bring up her children.

I felt very uncomfortable and confused as I read this play. But I conclude it is because of how I was able to relate to it, that I disliked it. However, I think all the characters in this play are equally as pitiful.

 

 

Personal Response to A Doll’s House

Throughout a large portion of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Nora leads a pleasant, mundane life. Filled with Torvald’s stern finger wagging (p. 113) and Nora’s pretty responses like, “Yes, yes, as you wish” (p. 111), the entire balance of their relationship is established. Nora never threatens Torvald’s “manly self-esteem” (p. 122), so long as he keeps providing her with a comfortable lifestyle and spending-money. Torvald calls Nora his “squirrel”, his “songbird”, his “spendthrift”, and rather than annoyance, she receives those possessive pet-names with affection and silliness. At the start of this play, I was filled with anticipation for Nora’s anger to finally surface. However, at every moment where I felt my own rage toward Torvald, she seems perfectly fine with his patriarchal, paternal actions and words. Their marriage feels more playful than anything else—like a game between a father and his beloved little girl. Torvald indulges on Nora’s frivolity and childlike behaviours, whereas Nora indulges on Torvald’s earnings. It is only at her rather late breaking-point that Nora finally realizes this: the fact that as husband and wife, they have never once “exchanged a serious word about serious things” (p. 182).

Nora doesn’t experience a lengthy buildup to the culmination of this play. She doesn’t gather clues or data points supporting the toxicity of their relationship. She doesn’t consult a friend on her concerns. In fact, she doesn’t even have concerns needing to be addressed, other than the money she borrowed to save Torvald. She appears to lack perspective and intelligence, especially when talking to Kristine in Act I, yet we begin to see that perhaps that’s a product of the environment she has been raised and placed in,

Torvald: You talk like a child. You don’t understand the society you live in. 

Nora: No, I don’t. But I intend to look into it. I must find out who is right, society or me. (p. 185)

Within this dialogue, Torvald attempts to gaslight Nora—to convince her that she’s being a naive child. In return, Nora provides a sophisticated response, questioning the role we all play in society. Is it our jobs to uphold societal standards when they’re perpetuating harm? Is it our duty to combat these stereotypes and norms, in order to create change? If her surrounding society has been teaching her that she’s nothing more than a silly, frivolous, scatterbrained woman her whole life, why would she act any differently? Why would she try to prove them wrong, especially since her life isn’t even bad? She has been assimilated into a typical 19th century daughter and wife—into a doll. The pinnacle of this play doesn’t occur incrementally, it’s more of a flipped switch in Nora’s mind. When Torvald doesn’t defend her after discovering that she borrowed money, she has an important realization: Torvald is only a loving husband in the good moments, which is negated by his anger and distance in this particular bad moment. When she’s conforming to a subservient position as his ideal doll, he’s satisfied, but when she acts like an actual human being—strong, imperfect, and real—he shows hostility.

In several ways, our current society reflects the one presented in A Doll’s House. Femininity is often associated with sensitivity, sweetness, modesty, and fragility, whereas masculinity is associated with strength, independence, assertiveness, and bravery. These stereotypical gender roles continuously put stress on both men and women, not to mention how non inclusive they are to those who are nonbinary. When we assign these qualities and establish this social construct, we are creating a sense of invalidity for many. In this play, Nora tells Kristine about the business she has been conducting, and says, “It was almost as though I was a man” (p. 123). For doing something as unrelated to gender as business ought to be, she feels detached from womanhood. As we witness through Nora, gender norms give people a false impression of who they can and cannot be. They build boundaries, enforce segregation. Then, when people combat these stereotypes, they are often met with problematic, even dangerous responses. Perhaps, breaking down these boundaries is exactly what we need to thrive as a society. Everyone should have the right to emulate and challenge these norms, without being forced to question their own identities (though they certainly can if they want to!). So much has changed between our society and Ibsen’s one, hopefully indicating that this progression will come, as well.

A Doll’s House: Personal Response

For me, “A Doll’s House,” by Henrik Ibsen, raised many questions about what it takes to work a marriage and why development is essential for every individual. The play focuses on patriarchal male figures and the oppression of women in the 1800s. It expresses how women weren’t capable of much other than housekeeping, mentioning their “duty” was to take care of their family before themselves.

My opinions and feelings towards the characters fluctuate throughout the play. At first, I was aware of Nora being a somewhat brave character, someone who took a risk to save her husband’s life, but as the play developed, she was portrayed as this naive and childish character. “Come here. Now I will show you that I too have something to be proud and glad of. It was I who saved Torvald’s life.” (A1. P13). It’s immature of Nora to prove herself to anyone or explain she has been through difficult times by telling them her most confidential secret. I think she might so desperately want to prove herself because she has been looked down upon for a long time. Reading through Nora’s character in the play, I realized that some of the things she says or does are infuriating. “You must be a very poor lawyer, Mr. Krogstad.” (A1. P26). She is not witty, confident in herself, or convincible; I say this because she often sobs or stutters as she presents her argument. My detestation towards Nora grew tremendously in Act 2; she overreacted to the most invaluable circumstances and became more stubborn as the play continued. “…but you could just as well dismiss some other clerk instead of Krogstad.” (A2. P36). It’s surprising that Nora only cares about herself and is ready to sacrifice anyone for the sake of her stability. Coming towards the end of Act 3, it was startling to find myself quite proud of Nora as she made a brave decision to leave Torvald. I completely agree with her because it is important to discover yourself before helping others, she finally stepped up for herself, and I am delighted with her conclusion. 

Opposite to Nora’s naive character is Torvald, an arrogant and oppressive male who cares about nothing but his reputation and career. He constantly referred to Nora as a helpless little girl, his dearest treasure (A3. P60), that shouldn’t do anything but look after the family.  “Miserable creature — what have you done?”(A3. P65). I think he tremendously overreacted when he became aware of Nora’s deeds; she was right to do what she did as she had good intentions. “a hypocrite, a liar– worse, worse — a criminal!” (A3. P66). Torvald cursed at her repeatedly but just a few minutes later had a change of heart and pretended to be the sweetest husband ever. I think he is helpless without Nora.

Nora and Torvald did not have a successful marriage as neither of them understood each other. People need to realize that women have passions too, everyone has a different way of living life, and some might choose to take other paths instead of being housewives. In the end, “A Doll’s House” is one of my most disliked plays; while reading it, I felt as if I were analyzing and solving a family dispute and playing the role of a therapist.

A Doll’s House: Personal Response

Ibsen’s A Doll’s House was not what I expected it to be. All I knew about it before reading was that it discussed feminist ideas in a time when those ideas were not very prevalent. Thus, I expected Nora to be a strong female who had no choice but to act childish because of the era she was born into. When she said things like “Just a teeny-weeny bit” (p. 112) and responded so positively to Torvald calling her “sweet little songbird” and the like (p. 113), I assumed it to be an act. I kept imagining her like this all the way until Krogstad informs Nora that she “signed this IOU three days after his [her father’s] death” (p. 134), at which point I realized that Nora is not, in fact, a secret mastermind– she is just a naïve, sheltered young woman. Although I felt a little disappointed at the time, I now understand that her being a secret mastermind would’ve far lessened the impact of the ending.

This play is interesting in that the crux of the story doesn’t occur until the last ten pages, and there is no resolution afterwards. After Torvald’s reaction to reading Krogstad’s letter is not what Nora had expected, she realizes Helmer has only loved her as a play-thing (a doll) and never as a person. She furthermore realizes that in many ways she has only been a doll, never a person: “I then went from Daddy’s hands over into yours,” she says to Torvald, “And I acquired the same taste as you; or I only pretended to; I don’t really know” (p. 182). Nora was treated as a doll, so learned how to be a doll, and then was a doll– there was no conscious deception, and no secret mastermindery. She didn’t even understand what was happening. The entire importance of the ending scene comes from that fact; that realization that she is naïve and sheltered and never knew. I think one of the reasons that the patriarchy has been so enduring in human history is that many women were, like Nora, unaware that something was ‘wrong.’ Especially the relatively well-off ones did not have a bad life, and could easily be content. Nora has a nice house, lovely children, a maid to care for her children, and a caring and financially supportive husband. She is sheltered, but happy; ignorant, but blissful. Her story is one of realizing ignorance and forgoing bliss in an attempt to search for deeper, more meaningful happiness.

This situation makes me think of humanity’s journey as a whole. Why did equal rights for women arise so late into it? I think that this play suggests an answer– it’s only when people have the comfort of a stable, unthreatened life and the leisure of free-time that they begin to philosophize, and that comfort is a relatively new luxury. If Nora didn’t have that luxury, she would probably be too concerned with making a living and raising her children herself to consider her place as a woman. A beggar doesn’t plead to have the same rights as a king, he pleads for enough money to buy his next meal.

WDolan “Doll’s house” Personal Reponse Act 3

I enjoyed ‘A Doll’s House’ by Henrik Ibsen immensely. I think the title of the play was fitting as Torvald continuously manipulated Nora like a doll and treated her as a child or non-human inferior creature.

I liked Nora, as I thought she represented the qualities of strong women. I sympathized for her since she has been treated as Torvald’s possession throughout the entire story. He calls her ‘treasure’, ‘skylark’, ‘sweet tooth’, and so on. However, I was intrigued by how she was so blunt about leaving her children. I did not know whether to think of her as an irresponsible mother, or someone who has been through enough pain and deserved to live a free life. I do not like Helmer because he is manipulative and he suggests throughout the play that Nora is stupid and that he loves her for her attractive appearance.

I thought the ending was disappointing because it was so abrupt, and Nora willingly left her children behind. However, Nora’s desperation and confrontation with Torvald Helmer felt realistic because she knew he would not want her to leave. One question Act III raised for me was: ‘In what sense does Helmer’s attitude reflect society in the past and present?’ 

In conclusion,  I gained more perspective on the social structure and expected behavior from women within that time frame. Women seemed taken advantaged of for their appearance rather being respected for their qualities.

English: PR to MoV

In The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, revenge is in some ways justified but in other cases is not. The difference between right and wrong when it comes to revenge is similar to the difference between Christians and Jews. This difference is what makes Shylock’s desire for revenge justified.

The act of revenge due to abuse is justified when it comes to Shylocks life but not the Christians’ lives. Shylock wanted revenge for how Antonio treated him. “You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, / And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine, / And all for use of that which is mine own” (Act 1, Scene 3, ll. 106-108). Words are harmful but they can be ignored, but when Antonio continuously bad-mouthed Shylock to the point where Shylock’s religion was being treated like trash is what resulted in Shylock revolting. What pushed Shylock over the edge was him losing his daughter and his money to a Christian. His actions towards revenge at first seemed unjust but in the end, when Shylock’s religion was thrown away we felt empathy for him… Now the Jews were in the right while the Christians were in the wrong, but Shylock being by himself against many Christians the chances of him succeeding in his revenge was almost impossible.

Revenge cannot be justified as right when there is a chance that someone will suffer. Shylocks revenge was fueled by rage and hatred towards Antonio. He decided that making a loan and acting kindly towards Antonio will aid him later on with his true desire…

“O father Abram, what these Christians are, / Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect / The thoughts of others! Pray you tell me this: / If he should break his day what should I gain / By the exaction of the forfeiture? / A pound of man’s flesh, taken from a man, / Is not so estimable, profitable neither, / As flesh of muttons, beefs, or goats. I say / To buy his favour, I extend this friendship. / If he will take it, so; if not adieu, / And for my love, I pray you wrong me not” (Act 1, Scene 3, ll. 156-166).

He wanted to kill Antonio by using a loan they both signed. His desire to kill Antonio because of hatred was unjust because although Antonio might have harmed Shylock mentally he did not physically harm Shylock. Antonio deserved to apologize at least to Shylock but this was never going to be enough because with his daughter gone, Shylock had barely any money and no one on his side, all he had was himself and his religion.

The difference between what is right and what is wrong is like the difference between Christians and Jews, they can never accept each other. “Certainly the Jew is the very devil incarnation, / and, in my conscience, my conscience is but a kind of / hard conscience to offer to counsel me to stay with the / Jew” (Act 2, Scene 1, ll. 24-27). Neither religion is right or wrong in a sense. They act based on how they have been raised. If calling the other a devil lives up to the normal standard of life then they do not deserve to be called people.  While Christians prominently overrule Jews both want mercy for different reasons… Jews meaning Shylock alone wants mercy for his religion, he wants to be respected for who he is, he is tired of being shunned by the Christians. The Christians want Shylock to show mercy to Antonio, they want mercy but we can see that when they made Shylock beg for his life they did not show him any mercy whatsoever. It seems as if their actions are lies for the truth, wanting mercy vs actually showing mercy, the Christians truly are terrible people towards Jews. Christians and Jews within this story seem as if they will never respect one another, if Antonio was to have never provoked Shylock maybe Shylock would have been able to save his identity. Without his identity, without any sign of mercy from anyone around him Shylock was no longer a Jew, he was no longer himself.

The effect that inflicting revenge can have on a person or group of people will never result in anything good. Revenge is fueled by hatred, by a change in your life that you can’t accept and this is exactly what we saw in Shylock’s case. He lost everything in the end because of revenge. What good did it bring him to try and force change upon the Christians? Nothing good came out of his actions… All that came was more pain and more loss for his already broken character.

 

The Merchant Of Venice, Does Money Corrupt Us?

Does money automatically corrupt us, is there a way to be wealthy/rich without changing for the money. Why does money tempt us to do things that we wouldn’t if it was not involved? How much control do we have over our own decisions with money implanted within our lives 24/7? Is it possible to stay the same person with a clear open mindset or do our minds become diluted with numbers and status? The Merchant of Venice’ has examples of this question throughout the book.

It is a well-known fact that people naturally change their behavior when put in certain situations, these situations could be from stress, popularity and of course what I will be talking about, MONEY. We see the theme of money and love being put together throughout this book and I found it interesting to see how much money meant, and what people would do for it. Bassanio gives an example of it almost immediately after getting engaged to Portia the wealthy beautiful princess. He says “When I told you My state was nothing, I should have told you that I was worse than nothing; for indeed I have Engaged myself to a dear friend, Engaged my friend to his mere enemy, To feed my means.”   (Act 3, Scene 2, L 256) Bassanio reveals that he is indeed in debt and needs help from Portia’s wealth. Portia’s wealth is the driving factor for Bassanio to make the trip to her in order to marry her so that he could use her wealth to solve his issues he has seemed to help stir up involving his dear friend Antonio. Bassanio changes for the money and in the long run, it almost ends up costing his friend’s life. This to me is Someone acting for someone they do not care much for in order to inhabit their riches which is changing for the money. In the merchant of Venice this act does not Completely corrupt Bassanio, but it seems to me as though he was spared.

Some people are not able to stay mentally sane with vast amounts of money. With money comes people and people bring issues, it seems harsh but, everyone has an opinion that they want to have heard. It’s a lot of work to try not to mess up anything and only do good things for people or whatever it is. Portia In this Play does seem to be able to handle her wealth mindfully and does not seem to do anything wrong, she seems like the perfect woman to marry for a man back then. But does Portia use her wealth for good or bad? When she goes to the trial to help Bassanio save his friend Antonio, she does end up proving Shylock’s wrong, who wants Antonio dead. But she does not only prove him wrong she destroys him by tearing away have of what he owns. Is this good or bad is a question I still ask. Should she have given shylock some mercy?

Money influences us inevitably it seems. Sometimes worse than others. The money will not always corrupt you but will raise new problems that will be needed to be solved. If the problems are not solved money can corrupt you. The difference between good and bad have a very fine line. It seems impossible to keep someone happy without keeping others angry just like shylock and Bassanio after the Trial.

 

 

 

Personal Response to The Merchant Of Venice

Love is such a broad word, but we use it to describe so many things. The Merchant of Venice portrays the complexity of love, as it often associates love with the desire for wealth, power, and beauty.

“Pure Love” is different from marriage. When Portia makes her first appearance in the play, she complains, “But this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose me a husband.” (Act 1, Scene 2, ll. 20,21) We see that she desires to marry someone she has affection for, but she has no choice; her marriage is determined by “chance”. As Bassanio opens the casket and marries Portia, we temporarily forget that marriage doesn’t necessary require love. Portia has long hinted to us, “In terms of choice I am not solely led/ By nice direction of a maiden’s eyes.” (Act 2, Scene 1, ll. 13, 14) Thus, there isn’t “pure love” in marriage.

The relationship between Jessica and Lorenzo is another example of how we must not confuse marriage with love. There is no doubt that Lorenzo and Jessica adore each other, but there are many hints in the play where Lorenzo associates his affection for Jessica with the amount of fortune Jessica takes from her father. “She hath directed / How I shall take her from her father’s house, / What gold and jewels she is furnish’d with, What page’s suit she hath in readiness.” (Act 2, Scene 5, ll. 29-32) Jessica has “hath prov’d herself” by bringing her dowry and converting to a Christian, thus she is “wise, fair, and true,” and only then can she be “placed” in Lorenzo’s “constant soul.” (Act 2, Scene 6, ll. 53-58)

Jessica’s love towards Lorenzo is not pure love either. As she talks about the “tediousness” of her father and her house, she immediately feels guilty, but quickly diminishes this guilt by thinking about Lorenzo. “Alack, what heinous sin is it in me / To be asham’d to be my father’s child! / But though I am a daughter to his Blood / I am not to his manners. O Lorenzo, / If thou keep promise, I shall end this strife, / Become a Christian and thy loving wife.” (Act 2, Scene 3, ll. 15-20) If she doesn’t take her own dowry and marry Lorenzo, she will likely marry someone Shylock choses. Then again, we see how marriage doesn’t necessarily require love, and especially “pure and true love.”

In The Merchant of Venice, marriage is portrayed as the exchange of power. And love cannot survive without it. Portia willingly gives Bassanio her “powers”; “yet for you / I would be trebled twenty times myself, / A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times / More rich, that only to stand high in your account / I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends, / Exceed account.” (Act 3, Scene 2, ll. 152-157) This is only possible because Bassanio had chosen the right casket, but Portia’s affection for him is a prominent reason; before Bassanio chooses the caskets, she already admits that “One half of me is yours, the other half yours— / Mine one, I would say: but if mine then yours, / And so all yours.” (Act 3 Scene 2, ll.16-18) If her husband is chosen by “fortune,” she might as well marry someone she likes. But if she was never a noble birth, Bassanio and the other suitors will never pursue her.

The love between Antonio and Bassanio is more ambiguous as it doesn’t perfectly fall into the category of either romantic love or friendship. What Antonio has done for Bassanio is incredible considering that they are known just as “kinsmen,” or friends; but Antonio’s affection for Bassanio is adulterated with a confusion about his sexual orientation, and anti-Semitism, as he prevents Bassanio from committing usury. We can interpret Antonio’s willingness to borrow Bassanio such a large sum of money as his affection towards Bassanio. But we can also see it as Antonio’s only way of expressing a type of love that is not commonly accepted at the time, for a Christian. Other than lending Bassanio large sums of money, there are limited options towards how he can express his affection. From Shylock’s famous speech, we know that Antonio has “hindered” him “half a million” (Act 3, Scene 1, ll. 48, 49) by preventing his friends from committing usury, “and it is very likely that he wants to keep Bassanio out of it too.

Love will always be impure and untrue. Pure love, if it exists, cannot possibly survive on this world without money or power. But is “contaminated love” not love? Shakespeare depicts these complex feelings through the characters in the play. And I think it is very accurate to how humans actually behave. But it also means I can never really find answers to these questions about The Merchant of Venice. It must take a lifetime to completely understand it.

 

 

Personal Response to The Merchant of Venice

William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice is a play about both love and hate. On the side of love, you see Bassanio and Portia falling in love in marriage, and on the other side you see the hatred shown from Christians towards Jews, and a strong hatred between the Christian Antonio and Shylock the Jew showed in court after Antonio failed to pay off a bond owed to Shylock. On both sides, you have an overall happy ending. Yet coming to that conclusion there were signs of mercy shown from Shylock and shown by Bassanio. But what is Mercy?

Mercy in the true definition is “showing compassion/forgiveness toward someone within the power to punish or harm.” Mercy is also kindness and a sign of selflessness. Yet mercy can be in many ways. In the play during the court scene, it was first offered to Shylock towards Antonio from Portia and the Duke but refused. Then Shylock showed that mercy by not taking a pound of flesh from Antonio, even though they both showed no mercy to each other, Shylock was forced to show mercy, unless he were to die, then agreed to terms so he would be spared (Act IV, scene I, pp. 81-82, lines: 376-395). Then further on in the play, it was shown. Again by Bassanio asking for mercy from Portia after he took off his ring, he’d promise he wouldn’t take off (Act V, scene I, pp. 96, lines: 240-244).

The act and asking for mercy is significant in this play and is throughout the story. It was first shown by Lancelot asking for forgiveness from his father after toying with him when he is blind (Act II, scene II, pp. 21-25). But one significant subject that came up with mercy is Portia’s “Quality of Mercy” speech during the court session (Act V, scene I, pp. 73, lines: 183-204). In her speech, Portia is trying to convince Shylock to be merciful like God is towards us. She also makes the connection of mercy with the Christian idea of salvation.

The idea of mercy is brought up in this play and many of Shakespeare’s plays. It was also heavily used back in the day. We tend to ignore how important it is in a play as it can bring a play together and makes it so that the story stays interesting and dramatic.

Personal Response to The Merchant of Venice

Throughout this play, we see so much un-reasoned hate towards Shylock and his people, the people that hate shylock and his people are prejudiced towards him. People that are prejudice are usually prejudice because of generalized hate for something and do not have actual hate towards it or they actually have some prejudice against someone. With the first part about that about generalized prejudice, is that people hate others because of what others are doing which isn’t a good mindset, but I do think this actually happens and is something very real. An example of this is when Shylock enters the courtroom in the movie we watched that he gets spat on, called names, and looked at as if he is an alien. The generalized hate / generalized prejudice is from the people doing the weird stare and not saying anything, and then the people that are spitting on him and calling him names have actual prejudice against him.

With this prejudice against Shylock and his people, I feel as though there shouldn’t be revenge The first being why it isn’t justified, this is because the odds were stacked against Shylock to begin with, this is shown when in the story from line 345 to 361 on Act 4, Scene 1. The summary of what happens here is that Portia says that if you shed any blood from a Christian under venetian law that you will be put to death or in prison. So even if he tried to to take the pound of flesh he would shed blood and this pound would be his revenge for losing his money, and in this it isn’t worth it meaning it’s not justified to do so because he would just die or go to prison. Also with not taking revenge, in my opinion I feel as though its more powerful to give mercy in hope that they are nice to you back especially if they are mean to you, which could decrease prejudice and possibly form a bond (which is kind of unlikely).

The last question being Is it possible to be both rich and good, or does wealth inevitably corrupt us? I feel as though with this you need to define what good means because are you good if you donate to charity? if you volunteer every weekend at a homeless shelter? if you are nice to people? if you have never sinned? the word can have many meanings which makes the question almost impossible to answer, but lets say what makes you a good person if you are kind to others and have a big positive impact on the world (without the direct cause of money ex. planting 100 trees in the forest over a week by yourself or with others.) with this meaning now here I feel as though it is possible for someone who is rich to be good. But with the wealth inevitably corrupting you, it depends how you get your wealth, like if you are an owner of a chain of a loan lending company with lots of interest, then the more money you get the more corrupt you get because you are taking it from the people that need it the most, because they can’t go to a bank, in turn you are taking money from very poor people, and in turn it is immoral to keep running this business. But if you are like Khan Academy which like helps people learn things and is a free service, and gets a lot of donations which in turn increases wealth (after like all taxes and other expenses) then in this case wealth wouldn’t inevitably corrupt you. This relates to The Merchant of Venice, most of the people in the Merchant of Venice are not kind at all to Jewish people which in turn (in that aspect) every rich Christian in that aspect is not good, and wealth in the story is usually only by Christian people (I think) so this means that no one in the story is a good person in any aspect.

Personal Response to The Merchant of Venice

Love, whether it be romantic, platonic, or familial, is portrayed as impure in The Merchant of Venice. In this play, love is rarely mentioned without association to money or status. We’re introduced to these ideas from the beginning, when Solanio and Salarino claim that the only possible sources for Antonio’s sadness are his fortunes or love (Act I, Scene I, pp. 1-3). This establishes the two main priorities in this play, leaving us with the impression that they’re connected. Money is a reason for love, money helps create love, and money increases the meaning of love. If love is pure, why are Bassanio’s first remarks about Portia based on her wealth and beauty (Act I, Scene I, p. 6)? Love shouldn’t be superficial, but it is often represented as such. If love is pure, why does Jessica need a dowry to marry Lorenzo (Act II, Scene VI, pp. 34-26)? In this scenario, marriage is established as transactional and systematic, so why do we use it as the marker of love? If love is pure, why is Shylock’s heartbreak over his daughter’s departure equally painful due to his love for her, and his love for the money she took with her (Act III, Scene I, pp. 47-49)? Oftentimes, love is contaminated with greed, desire, and immorality; but so are most things. Does that diminish the love’s sincerity and value?

Coinciding with the purity of love, this play demonstrates the prevalence of power’s influence on relationships, causing us to question whether that is moral. If power is involved in the formation and preservation of a relationship, is it genuine? For instance, Portia has power stemming from her beauty, wealth, and status. Without these attributes, Portia would barely have a place in the world, let alone the multitude of suitors she has. Her relationship with Bassanio would be nonexistent, because she wouldn’t be in any position of power. In the play, Portia and Bassanio get married, and in doing so Portia relinquishes her power and wealth to him. Bassanio’s newly acquired possession of control would change the dynamic of their relationship. Suddenly, he runs the household, has the power to control Portia, and is seen as the more important figure between them. Should we let power have such a strong influence on us, or would it be better to disregard it, to combat the inequality rather than enforce it? We can also examine the relationship between Antonio and Shylock, as a representation of the relationship between Christians and Jews. Originally, Antonio has more power than Shylock, since he is a Christian. Using his power, Antonio constantly condemns and mistreats him, which defines their adversarial relationship. Later, when Shylock gains power stemming from the bargain, Antonio is at his mercy. The nature of relationships completely changes depending on power, leading to the discrimination we see from Christians to Jews, the patriarchal relationships shown between men and women throughout this play, and other unhealthy imbalances.

Shakespeare often plays with deceit throughout his literature, in both form and content. On a literal level, we associate deceptive appearances with Portia and Nerissa’s disguises as men; a tactic they used to save Antonio from death. We may also remember when Portia calls herself an “unlesson’d girl, unschool’d, unpractis’d” (Act III, Scene II, p. 54), which we later discover is completely false. She claims that at the beginning of her engagement with Bassanio, when in fact, she is quite brilliant. Digging even deeper, when Portia is acting as Antonio’s lawyer, she delivers a powerful speech about mercy, “The quality of mercy is not strained / It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven” (Act IV, Scene I, p. 73). Or, it appeared powerful and heartfelt, until she demonstrated her hypocrisy by not showing mercy to Shylock, merely pages later. This employment of deceit utilized by Shakespeare allows us to question sincerity as a whole; how often are people truly sincere, and how often are they only acting sincere for self-serving purposes? Deception leads to mistrust; a cracked foundation, a flawed reliance on others. The Merchant of Venice allows us to explore questions that may be applicable to ourselves, from a distance. Sometimes, it takes reading about hypocrisy to recognize it in our own lives, and to question how we can avoid the alterable flaws shown in fictional characters.

Trevor Van Dyk English: PR to MoV 14/02/2021

The constituents of what provides us life satisfaction are complexed. In one position is the allocation of love, honesty, and sensation, while opposed to power and possession. What belief is applied variates with the person, who draws their decisions from experience. Experience is the driving factor of our characteristics, and I believe, is both conscious and unconscious. What defines experience is that which defines truth, although based substantially on the unconscious; the intangible, the impossible to conceptualize. The manifestations of this complexion display in our life activities. What drives us to love is unknown, neither to appreciate art. Contrarily, the drive for wealth is evident: it provides the means to exact more influence over one’s environment. Therefore, we inhabit a world where alternate incentives pull at our longing for improvement. These forces require different philosophies and fulfill opposite qualities in our sensation of experience.

Love is infinitely unique and is subject to influence by any other of the human qualities. A theme in The Merchant of Venice, is love versus trust. Lorenzo rescues Jessica from Shylock, so breaking Shylock’s trust for her love. Gratiano gets engaged with Nerissa spontaneously, in about one page worth of dialogue, giving no time for development of trust between the characters. When Bassanio loses Portia’s ring, the symbol of his commitment to her is lost. In each case, trust shows no prevailing purity, undermining what pure love should be like.

Is devotion to a person ever fully authentic, and stabilized? Certainly not. The power dynamic in the marriage between Portia and Bassanio comprehended all Portia’s wealth would go to her husband. “…her gentle spirit commits itself to yours to be directed as from her lord” (III, ii, 163-165). Portia dedicates herself to her husband. Take example how Shylock treated Jessica, how he would constrain and inhibit her liberties. Equality and complete altruism in love is likely impossible and cannot be found. Every romance has faults and discrepancies, limitations that make it not wholly in consensus.

Understanding love is very frequently corrupt, perhaps a balanced outlook on love vs. money would be the human requires both. If one has too much love, they experience the pressure of liquidating said love, or if one possesses too much money, as in Crassus, member of the Roman Triumvirate and richest man of the classical world, felt when he bought two legions and crossed the Euphrates to attempt conquering Parthia. Certain humans pursue the path of culture, art, love, while others pursue that of power, and wealth. Yo-yo Ma had business as a cello player, however found no love in just that.

The largest distinction between art and love, and power and wealth, is that the former investigates the meaning of truth, and the latter of harnessing that which is tangible. One invokes inquisition, the other of mastery. In essence, I would believe both are vital. Art is the realm of both. When one follows art, they employ meaning with resonance, and skill and practice. One can approach it as the mastery of a medium, and as a canvas on which to investigate. It even distributes the allure inquiring on aesthetic has to a wide audience, that they can respect individually and give power and money towards the creator: the celebrity.

In that understanding, art is as corrupt as money is. To try and elevate from the impure lust for prosperity, for the purity of investigation, is to give up on practicing, improving—beautiful exploitation. Perhaps the virtuous person is one who recognizes both concepts, the tangible and the uncharted, and employs them to reach resonance. To obsess on achieving pure love, then switch to having the ultimate wealth, and recycle, is not how to be, yet it is to embrace both simultaneously. Ambiguity is undeniable with where the equity is, how one should choose between power and explanation. Perhaps the reason why so many, if all people spend all their life striving for this goal shows how complexed, complex, and how variable our complexion is. If that is so, then no doubt is the reason why love is so fickle, rare, and unfortunate.

The Merchant of Venice: Personal Response

We would all agree in a heartbeat that justice is an attribute we, as a society, should strive for. However, when asked ‘How do we determine justice?’, many of us would find ourselves in discordance. In Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Shylock demands justice from the Venetian court after Antonio fails to make good on their contract. His view of justice is made clear at the courthouse: “I stand here for the law” (4. 1. 142), he says, “I crave the law, / The penalty and forfeit of my bond” (4. 1. 204-205). His position seems reasonable without the crucial context that the “penalty and forfeit” he demands is a pound of Antonio’s flesh, and all for the temporary loss of three thousand ducats.

The law is our supposed arbiter of right and wrong. But, could any of us say that the laws of any country are synonymous with justice? Even when twenty five of the United States sanction the death penalty? When many Canadian provinces allow social workers to stand over First Nations mothers’ hospital beds and take away their children at birth? When countless governments still suppress free speech and peaceful demonstration? And, of course, when Shylock is permitted by law to kill Antonio for failing to return three thousand ducats within three months? Clearly we cannot make that claim. Although the law’s job is to enact justice, often parts of it don’t reflect what most would consider justice to be. After all, laws are made by flawed humans, not all-knowing divines motivated only by moral righteousness.

We could easily argue that Shylock himself probably doesn’t actually hold the law in such high regard. He’s lived his whole life surrounded by Christians who think that “the Jew is the very devil incarnation” (2. 2. 24), and who “call [him] misbeliever, cut-throat dog, / [and] spit upon [his] Jewish gaberdine” (1. 3. 106-107)– all of this is not only permitted, but encouraged by Venetian law, which is very anti-Semitic itself, forbidding Jews to live outside of a small gated neighborhood and denying them access to many occupations. Shylock’s appeal to the law seems to be more out of a determined attempt to get revenge than a strong sense of legal justice. In an enraged speech to Solanio and Salarino, he says “If a / Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by / Christian example? Why, revenge! The villainy you / teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will / better the instruction” (3. 1. 61-65). This indicates that his ultimate goal to get revenge, not to uphold the law.

Although Shylock claims to believe that justice is the law, when we look further we see that, if he’s appealing to justice at all, then his idea of justice is more likely revenge than legality. This idea has possibly even more flaws than his claimed one. In fact, the law nowadays is often there to stop this destructive ‘eye for an eye’ behavior. If someone’s child is murdered, for example, I would expect them to want to kill the person who did it. However, I would also expect, and very much hope, that law enforcement would stop them. Justice should inform the law, and the law should regulate extreme emotional responses like those caused by anger and a wish for revenge. Though they are all intertwined, neither justice, nor the law, nor revenge are synonymous to one another. While reading The Merchant of Venice, and exploring these ideas through Shylock and his contract with Antonio, that was the conclusion I came to.

Letter to Langston Hughes

Dear Langston Hughes,

In our English class, we had to read a few of your poems. I realized that most of your poems use jazz and black folk rhythms. I also see you discussing topics such as the hardships of the black working-class lives and how the blacks are being mistreated, which I admire. your writing style allows me to understand how much hard work it took for the blacks to be whom they are today, while also learning about the history of the blacks.

One of your poems that I enjoyed analyzing is “Negro”. After reading this poem I was able to learn a lot about the history of the blacks while relating this poem to what problems the blacks still encounter in our society today. Throughout the poem, you used the words “slave”, “worker”, “singer” and “victims” to show what a negro does in the past. You also used “I brushed the boots of Washington” (6) to show the history of the blacks since after reading this line, I was able to identify that you were referring to the enslavement period. In the poem, you also used lines such as “They still lynch me in Mississippi” (16) to show what problems the blacks still encounter today, since you wanted us to understand the oppression of the past which is still happening today.

Another poem that I enjoyed analyzing of yours is “Dream Boogie”. In this poem, you wanted to show how the blacks were not being understood and that the white people should listen in which I have found interesting. However, how you have shown it was more compelling, you made us listeners assume that it is a happy beat “Listen closely: You’ll hear their feet Beating out and beating out a -” (4-7), while subtly trying to get us to understand “Listen to it closely: Ain’t you heard something underneath like a -” (10-13), but you decided to give up since us listeners don’t understand “What did I say?” (16).

After reading your poems, I hope that the messages of your poems would get spread out more broadly since numerous people around the world don’t understand how big the issue is in the messages of the poems you are conveying. Lastly, I would like to thank you for all your hard work and also for giving me the opportunity to read and analyze your poems.

Sincerely,

Jasper

Dear Mr. Hughes,

I request of you an opinion on a matter dear to me, of which I find no resounding, nor over-arching, resolution. As one, whom one may say, is naturally inclined to tinker with the weight of words, persuing the most arbitrary word compilations, perusing meaning where there might be none. In actuality, countless if meaning was in fact intended by an author, what if meaning has no truth? no firm basis in resonance? Mr. Hughes, I shall allow you to interpret as you will what meaning there is in preceding sentences.

Now I am not here to bore you with fickle matters of no value, at least I hope, and hope you find too. You have received many letters, from my mutual classmates/peers. I hold no doubt certain among such have irked your interest, or instead your irritation. Perhaps some have conveyed a formal and literal message, while others a powerful, or emotional, and figurative message. I yet hold no doubt that said letters have swayed you alternately from I (for I have too read them). Furthermore, I hold no doubt how you have interpreted the qualities of said letters has congrued with your meaning of value in literature, if certain assertions within literature are more worthy in value than others, and if the form shows merit in conjunction. Although, I understand your analysis of literature is much developed and refined over years, full of sway and rhythm, power and sensation. And I know the style forming your literature is unique, fresh, inventive, it follows the identities you have developed in the literary world.

So I ask you to ponder: what makes “good” literature? What do you look for/what does it need? Are the requirements for literature different from piece-to-piece I wonder? If so, I wonder if the meaning behind literature is much larger than imaginable, if it really is the realm of possibility? Yet the confusion is pertinent, for I understand that lots of the power in your prose is based on your dream of better life of minority classes. Therefore, is literature a figment of the real world, forever tied to our experiences? Mr. Hughes, I would love to know what motivates you as a person to write literature, and to know what you seek as you write literature.

Sincerely,

Trevor

Letter to Langston Hughes

Dear Langston Hughes,

I have read few of your poems, and while reading some of your works, I learned about your writing style and how you structured your poems.  The wordings you use are relatively easy for me to understand, yet can also express deep thoughts. Your poems made me realise I underestimated the racism and learnt about black history.

After reading most of your poems, I found some similarities in most of the poems. It’s talking about chasing dream in early 1900s  and suffering from racism. As a black person it’s is tough back then, the poems let you express how you feel about the society. I can feel it through some of the poems that you wrote.

“And then the wall rose,

rose slowly,

slowly,

Between me and my dream.” – (As I Grew Older, II. 7-10)

The wall rose, you were referring to racism, blocking you to fulfil your dream. It’s a boundary that grows slowly and slowly until it becomes a wall that you can’t break through.

“My hands!

My dark hands!

Break through the wall!

Find my dream!

Help me to shatter this darkness,

To smash this night,

To break this shadow” – (As I Grew Older, II. 24-30)

These sentences sticks out in this poem, the tone sounds different. Again, you want freedom and justice. I can feel that you are passionate for declaring what is right and what is wrong. I feel like you want whoever is suffering from racism feel relatable when reading this poem, to resonate with the readers.

After reading your poem, I learn to sympathise people who are suffering from racism. Your words express pain, discomfort, and fear. Now it’s 2021, and racial discrimination still exists. I hope people can face this problem squarely. Not only black people, but many races also face the same problem. 

Sincerely,

Lydia Lam

Great literature does not send messages! It raises questions and explores possibilities.