PR to Orwell’s Politics and the English Language

George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” argues that if we use language that is simple and facile it makes us put less effort into it, this leads to us falling into bad habits of word choice and thought. This is because “language and thought are so closely linked” , says Orwell.

I agree with this due to my personal experience, since I speak more than one language and I am used to making those shortcuts; like combining languages and making my own “metaphors” which is more like copying and literally translating phrases and expressions from one of the languages to make it easier to explain my thoughts and share my opinions with others. I often receive comments like “you have an awkward or unclear expression here” and Im seriously working on that. 

“..language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.” pg358  and I have to disagree on that. I feel like language is a tool which we not only can, but have to try to use in different ways. I feel like we need to explore, find and use ways that will help us speak our mind. There are so many examples when languages underwent changes and modifications in order to be what they are today, and the English language is not an exception.

Take a look at Shakespearean English for example, his influence on the language was so significant that now we cannot imagine our modern days without it, as there are thousands of words that Shakespeare invented that we still use today. An example of a word that was invented by Shakespeare comes from the 1570s, the phrase “to court” which at the time meant “to woo” soon became the word “courtship” which he used in The Merchant of Venice. 

 

At the same time, I understand how many people won’t agree with me, and think that the language should stay “respected”. Of course, many people do not support the idea of slang for example, an informal expression more common in speech than writing that is typically used among a group of people; usually used in order to avoid longer words, by taking a shortcut. Many say it ruins the language, substituting words and even phrases for a quicker alternative. 

But in general, I think that we need to recognize that language changes and modifies overtime.

 

I like how Orwell makes a point about dying metaphors and how many of them are outdated and are often used incorrectly by the authors completely. For example the Achilles heel, which refers to someone or something that has a weakness or a vulnerable point; as Orwell writes “Many of these are used without knowledge about the meaning” and I can somewhat agree to this as we tend to see this in more modern literature. I also grew up using this expression, mainly because my grandma uses it a lot, but the older I get, the less I hear it being used. 

This connects to me using Pretentious Diction when I was younger, without ever knowing that it had a name to it. When I used to use complicated words and phrases to make me sound more “wise” like Orwell discusses in his writing.

I thought I sounded smart and cool, as fancy words like laissez faire and comme ci comme ça were coming from me at age 6. Today, I need to fully understand an expression or a word before it takes its place in my lexicon.

George Orwell PR

I can’t say Orwell’s essays were my favourite thing we have read this year, but I still really enjoyed them. Before reading his essays, I didn’t really care who Orwell was or what he did. Of course I knew he wrote Animal Farm and 1984, two very well known novels, but other than that, I didn’t really care for him. To me, he seemed like one of those authors that everybody liked simply because they were told to like him. Of course looking back now I realize this was a very stupid conclusion, and one I was not qualified to make considering I had not read any of his work. And now, after reading a few of his essays, I can see why Orwell is such a celebrated author.

In Shooting an Elephant, Orwell states

“But even then I was not thinking of my own skin, only the watchful faces behind. For at that moment, with the crowd watching me, I wasn’t afraid in the ordinary sense, as I would have been if I had been alone.”

This is one of the quotes that resonated with me the most from any of the selected essays we were given. It is not just something that I myself can relate to, but something everyone can relate to. In our life, we have all done something stupid in order to make ourselves look better in front of others. I can think of a few good examples of this for myself, some of which can  never be shared with anyone, ever.  But my point is, everyone has a moment where they act irrationally in order to make themselves appear something they are not. Our behaviour is shaped not by what we choose to do, nor what we believe is the right thing to do, but rather, what others will think of what we do. In Orwell’s case, it is shooting a loose elephant, something he did not want to do, to avoid looking foolish in front of others.

At the end of the essay, Orwells says

“I often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool”

The thing that resonates with me the most about this quote, and this essay in general, is Orwell’s ability to be honest in his writing and with himself, he admits that the sole reason he shot the animal, was to avoid looking cowardly. Orwell does not try to paint himself as this amazing hero who saved everyone from a wild elephant. Instead, he is honest with himself and the reader about how he was not only afraid of the elephant, but more afraid of being laughed at and seen as a fool. I find this particularly inspiring. Being able to be honest with not just yourself but with others as well is an admirable quality, one that I have yet to master. I believe it is also this quality of Orwell’s writing that draws me to it. Think about how boring Shooting an Elephant would be if Orwell had just written about how he heroically shot an elephant in order to protect the lives of others. Nobody wants to waste their time reading that, not to mention how overdone the whole “epic hero” trope is. It is the internal struggle we see in the essay that makes it more relatable and allows the reader to really connect with the story, and thus, making it a more enjoyable read.

Another one of Orwell’s Essays that had a big impact on me was Politics and the English Language. This one hit very close to home for me, because I am very guilty of using the vague, unnecessarily complicated language Orwell criticizes. Anyone who took English with Mr. Macknight last year remembers getting our assignments back with a bunch of numbers scribbled all over the pages, and then filling out the marking key log. Well, my most common error I made on nearly every single one of my practice papers was #29: “Omit needless words.” It got to the point I hated the number 29 because I saw it written all over my paper so much. I guess I missed the memo that using big words (most of the time incorrectly) doesn’t actually make you sound smarter. I was saying so much but so little at the same time, and it was stupid. I was wasting my time trying to use these big fancy words when I could have gotten my point across in a much less pretentious manner, and more efficiently too, which probably would have saved me some time writing. However, after getting our A Doll’s House paper back, number 29 wasn’t even in my top 3 mistakes, so if that’s not improvement then I don’t know what is. In all honesty I do still sometimes catch myself trying to use big unnecessary words, but then I remind myself that in the end it just reduces the quality of my writing. If there is one piece of useful advice I took from this essay, it is that less is more.

Orwell’s way with words

Orwell’s focus on seeking and writing about injustice is comical, for his original aspiration as a writer was to write romances as fate chose differently for Orwell. As his political books and essays would be what he was known for, his writing being examples of political writing at its peak, few writers today would go to war and live like tramps for their beliefs and truly stand for their ideals, but Orwell was different. When he goes to write, he does not think, “I am going to produce a work of art.”.(Why I Write p.6) He writes because “there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.” (Why I Write p.6) He does this by exposing in ways rarely seen in modern writing that the stories he writes about live. He does not just stand on the sideline gathering evidence from others and writing about it. He takes steps to see the problem entirely and make as many people aware of it as possible.

My father worked in journalism for a few years in New York and Vancouver. He describes that he started writing at the tail end of freelance investigative journalism when writers were given time and money and told to bring back a story worth the time and money. These stories would be a deep dive into a topic that the writer would spend months investigating. This is similar to the experiences Orwell had during his time as a policeman or living in a spike. This type of writing was where the romance in journalism came from traveling the world, spending months in conflict zones or train surfing or uncovering secrets, or writing about a revolution or just in an unknown part of the world. Examples can be seen in Ida Tarbell’s writing about standard oil or David Halberstam’s writing in Vietnam, Bertil Lintner’s writing about the atrocities in Burma during the civil war, and his talking with his colleagues in the US embassy bar. This idea of being an investigator set free on the world to chase stories you wanted to tell and tell the people back in your home country how the world works and usually given lots of time and money to do it was appealing to a particular group of people. This type of in-depth experience collecting that Orwell and others practiced for a living was popular among readers. While not pioneered by Orwell, this type of writing would be significantly influenced by him. 

This is what appeals to me the most about Orwell. He can make not entirely accurate events feel grounded and written in a style as if they were real experienced events written about in a newspaper or magazine. His essays, mainly comprised of fact and his own first-hand experience mixed with a bit of fiction, are written with his grounded style and as convincingly and as plainly as possible despite the ongoing events adding to the realism. This became a signature of Orwell wrote with clarity, directness, and simplicity. This gives a convincing effect making his thoughts your own and making nothing feel like it’s filtered through the writer before you read it. His writing seems more like journalism than essay writing. This serves wonders for the events; you feel like none of them are exaggerated or made up, making his point even more convincing. His ability for Orwell to convince you of an idea or concept through plain language and a mix of his own experiences and fiction is the best quality of Orwell’s writing style. 

Orwell PR

Orwell’s essays are my favorite text we have read this year. Orwell’s exemplary work illustrates distinctive and highly effective ideas. Depicted by honesty, and a tone that epitomizes a call for justice. His writing, characterized by its clarity, simplicity, and precision delivers simple text, with great depth. Orwell’s prose is straightforward,  and focuses on delivering his message with maximum impact. One of the aspects I appreciate about Orwell’s writing style is his ability to create vivid and realistic descriptions. His words paint a clear picture in the reader’s mind. His attention to detail and ability to evoke emotions through his descriptions make his narratives compelling and engaging.

Furthermore, in particular, I found Orwell’s essay Shooting an Elephants very thought provoking, that explores the complexities of colonialism. One quote from the book that particularly resonates with me is when Orwell reflects on the pressures he faced as an soilder of imperialism: “I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant, it is his own freedom that he destroys.” (pg. 37) This powerful statement highlights the destructive nature of imperialism, revealing how those who enforce it ultimately suffer from the loss of their own freedom and moral integrity.

Provocative Reflections of Humanity’s Struggles

Several things went through my head when we were told that Orwell was next up on the long list of books required to read this year. The first thought being not another essay! My first experience with a book length essay was in grade 10 when we read Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman and, contrary to the title that essay nearly bored me to death. Therefore it astonished me when I found myself actually enjoying reading Orwells essays. One thing in particular that kept the pages turning was Orwell’s use of thought provoking themes. These themes touch upon fundamental aspects of society and human nature, inviting readers to critically examine their own beliefs and the world around. Two of these themes resonated within me more than the others, the first was social injustice and dehumanization, the second being imperialism and the abuse of power.

Orwell’s essays, particularly The Spike and How the Poor Die, eloquently depict  the social injustices and dehumanizing treatment inflicted upon the marginalized. In The Spike, Orwell’s first-hand experience in a workhouse reveals the harsh reality faced by the destitute. He highlights the appalling living conditions and total disregard for human dignity through his powerful language and moving descriptions. Unlike many others Orwell does not merely report on the topics of poverty and homelessness he experiences them. It is perhaps this quality which makes his writings so intriguing. The Spike by George Orwell serves as a stark reminder that the moral character of a society can be seen in how it treats its most vulnerable members. Orwell writes that “the cells measures eight feet by five” (p.13), referring to the living quarters of the workhouses, prison like. This encapsulates the social injustices of it all, resonating deeply, emphasizing the urgency for societal change and compassionate reform.

Similarly in How the Poor Die, Orwell draws attention to the striking disparities in healthcare access between the wealthy and the poor. He condemns a system that places profit ahead of human life, causing the poor to unnecessarily suffer from inadequate medical care. Orwell’s resolute depiction of the experience is persevered by the devastated highlights of foundational foul play sustained by cultural disregard. The devastating impact of poverty, in which individuals are denied the opportunity to improve their circumstances and enter a cycle of despair, is captured in the line, “A few feeble protests that I uttered got no more response than if I had been an animal.” (p. 278). Through these expositions, Orwell illustrates his treatment as one of the “poor” and urges perusers to stand up to the dehumanization of the minimized, provoking us to take a stab at a more fair and sympathetic culture.

My personal favourite of the Orwellian essays was Shooting an Elephant which delves into the idea that if one possesses power they might be inclined to abuse it. The essay itself discusses Orwells role as an imperial police officer in the heart of colonial Burma. He exposes the moral dilemma faced by individuals tasked with upholding oppressive systems. Through the metaphor of shooting an innocent elephant to appease the crowd, he unveils the inherent violence and degradation inflicted upon both the colonized and the colonizer. Orwell’s insight, “And my whole life, every white man’s life in the East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at,” (p.37) compels readers to examine the corrosive impact of imperialism on both the oppressed and the oppressor. This essay was, to me, masterful. Subtly exploring the destructive nature of imperialism while at the same time depicting yet another of his many adventures. When tied with the essay A Hanging, which discusses punishments in the context of imperialism, the two illustrate perfectly how power can be abused and the legitimacy of systems which perpetrate that same abuse.

These few essays from Orwell had me asking so many questions and reflecting upon myself. Orwell has me questioning what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil, what is just and what is unjust. Never before have I read such thought provoking pieces of writing or heard of a man with such a transient life. I can only aspire to write like Orwell or live half the life that he did. After reading just some of his writing I find myself wanting to seek out more, wanting to read another one of his essays or books which will undoubtedly be written with the same passion, the same sense, the same…everything.

Orwell’s Essays PR

In this age of progression and activism, it’s important to look back at the past and be taught essential lessons from it. Orwell’s essay teaches us that the quality and form in which we share our information can affect the effectiveness it has on the audience.

While reading “Politics and the English Language” I became all too familiar with the use of complicated and meaningless words that plague my writing past. Growing up in a world of this “political vagueness,” my choice of words always imitated the corporate jargon that Orwell criticizes. I was under the impression that these big words made you sound much smarter, and clarified the meaning of what you were trying to say. It was quite the opposite effect. It wasn’t until these past few months that I learned to refine my vocabulary, and in turn, sharpen my assertions and thoughts. It’s a hard learning curve, but worth it in the end.

Another lesson that I’ve been trying to master is the concept of “show not tell,” and Orwell does this perfectly in all his narrative-driven essays. Getting good at this way of presenting information is much harder than it looks, and I would know as I’ve been trying to perfect it for my storytelling. I applaud Orwell’s flawless execution. In The Spike, an example of “show not tell” that struck me was the description of “so-called tea” (pg.13). Tea is, for me, one of the simplest hot drinks to make— herbs and water— and yet it’s still not possible for the Spike to make. We’re shown explicitly the horrendous treatment of the homeless within the Spike, without Orwell writing something along the lines of, “The tea wasn’t good, which was shocking considering the drink is quite easy to make.”

Diction and the presentation of language are critical to creating a meaningful message. Without proper consideration, meaning can be ineffective or lost while writing. My writing can always improve, and these essays helped me understand more about how to formulate an essay.

Orwell PR

The collection of Orwell’s essays remain my favorite text we have studied this year. Orwell’s level of self-awareness and knowledge, coupled with his unwavering honesty, create a tone that exemplifies his distain for injustice. His works are exemplars that all writers wish to emulate. His awareness and honesty are to be admired, and his writing is to be envied. These traits create a model of writing that I strive to follow. The traits that make Orwell the writer he is manifest themselves as awareness and reflection of his shortcomings, in both life and writing. An example of his brutal honesty can be found on page 3 of Marrakech, 

“What does Morocco mean to a Frenchman? An orange-grove or a job in government service. Or to an Englishman? Camels, castles, palm-trees, Foreign Legionnaires, brass trays and bandits. One could probably live here for years without noticing that for nine-tenths of the people the reality of life is an endless, back-breaking struggle to wring a little food out of an eroded soil.”(pg. 3).

Orwell discusses the sufferings of Moroccans from the perspective of their colonial rulers. The indifference to the suffering of those who govern them exemplifies the injustice faced by Moroccan citizens. Orwell addresses this perspective, as it stems from ignorance from imperialist countries. He recognizes his inhabiting of Morocco makes him an accessory to this injustice. His honesty with both himself and the reader is admirable. This self-awareness allows for Orwell to create a tone of distain for the injustice he witnesses. By doing so, Orwell forms a model of honesty which all writers strive to emulate. By attempting to mimic Orwell’s honesty with himself and the reader, I enable myself to reinvent my writing, thus making it profoundly impactful, for myself and the reader.

An additional example of Orwell’s self-awareness can be found on page 374 of Politics and the English Language,

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

The essay concludes with a brief list, which compiles the knowledge required to be an efficient and effective writer. His self-awareness is exhibited in the sixth and final rule, in which he instructs the reader to break his own rules in order to ensure clarity and simplicity in their writing. Orwell addresses his own deviations regarding clarity and simplicity. By further acknowledging his shortcomings in his field, his advice becomes profoundly impactful.

Orwell’s self-awareness and honesty, both in the content and structure of his writing, is to be desired and strived for. Further, Orwell has provided a model that enables both simplicity and clarity in writing. Moreover, Orwell has demonstrated profound, provoking, and simply put commentary on important and complex topics. These traits form the foundation of clear and sincere writing. In the future, in both academic and personal settings, I will strive to achieve accessible and effective communication with those around me, by emulating Orwell’s model of an excellent writer.

The Awakening PR

It has taken me this long to write my personal response because I genuinely didn’t enjoy this book. The awakening is what I would describe as this quote by Mike Rawlings: ‘It may get worse before it gets better, but it will get better’. It drawled on for far too long for me. The problem is that I am unfamiliar with the word ‘patience’ so this book proved difficult for me. The earlier chapters were dreadfully boring and failed to capture my interest, therefore, resulting in me falling behind on the assigned chapter readings and why I am still not done with the book.

However, I find that the better part of the book begins when Robert leaves. It is after this event that the plot thickens and Edna realizes she has fallen for the young man who is not her husband, then proceeds to ‘find herself’ or gain a sense of clarity in her life, almost identical to Nora’s epiphany at the end of ‘The Doll’s House’.

Contradicting what I said in the first paragraph, I actually cannot genuinely say I did not enjoy this book simply because I am not done reading it. If this were a book I picked up myself for my reading pleasure, I would have dropped it many chapters ago.  I should have said that I did not like the parts of the book where they were on vacation because the drama actually unfolds very slowly when they get back to New Orleans.

Women Empowerment and Nature – The Awakening PR

        I’ve reflected and thought a lot about The Awakening while reading it in anticipation of this personal response. Like many of the other characters in the novel, I fell in love with her. There was an attractiveness to her described physicality, her contradictions and her journey. Her journey is the exploration of the nature of women, and the Nature in women. I had a fantastic realization, an awakening, from her mystic mannerisms, and honesty towards the irreplicable experiences of being a woman. 

The nature of women was the expected element of The Awakening, and it was executed very thoughtfully by presenting multiple perspectives on the complexity of women. The discussion of a women’s nature begins at the start of Chapter 7 where we are told Edna doesn’t gossip which is “a characteristic hitherto contrary to her nature” (pg. 15). Enda also is “not a mother-women” (pg. 9), she doesn’t care for her children as Madame Ratignolle does. Leonce even needs to call out “her habitual neglect of the children” (pg. 6). Her friends and family see her absence of conventional qualities instead of seeing value in her differences. There’s a black-and-white view of her situation from the people around her, which gets rid of the complexity of her character. She may not be a mother-women, but she still “wept of very pleasure when she felt their little arms clasping her” (pg. 111) when she visited them. Her motherly qualities are not completely devoted but they are not absent either. There is a middle ground, a grey to her, which I found very admirable. Women have so much depth, being confined into one definite box is not realistic, and Chopin demonstrated that complexity in Edna so well.

One aspect of our complexity, that I’ve started to find more and more important as I grow up, is Nature in women. While reviewing my notes I found the following point bulleted down, “The Isle being described as a paradise; ‘oranges + lemons trees’ pg. 16.” I realized that a description of a paradise, is completely subjective and that I personally saw this place as a paradise. The extract my notes referred to was Edna’s and Madame Ratignolle’s walk to the beach,

There were acres of yellow camomile reaching out on either hand. Further away still, vegetable gardens abounded, with frequent small plantations of orange or lemon trees intervening. The dark green clustered glistented from afar in the sun. (pg. 16)

This romantic description of this walk matches Edna’s values of taking walks, and the women who don’t “miss so much” (pg. 126). I know that I don’t go on walks often, but the times that I do, and my friends can attest to this, I become completely infatuated with nature and plants, moss, trees, etc. These consistent connections between Edna and nature, and especially her relationship with the ocean kept me engaged the entire time. There was something so freeing watching Edna’s story end in the ocean rather than something more traditional like a description of her running away with Robert. The image of her standing “naked in the open air, at the mercy of the sun, the breeze that beat upon her, and the waves that invited her” (pg. 136) is stuck in my mind. The rejection of not only her clothing, but her bathing suit too is the rejection of patriarchal societal expectations.  Even now nudity is seen as an inherently sexual thing, but aren’t we all born naked? Babies aren’t sexual in any connotation. The scene reminded me of birth, and I imagine once Edna leaves the ocean, if she ever does, this moment will act as her rebirth. She’ll be spiritually free from the biases of “unpleasant, pricking” clothes and society (pg. 136).

When I said I fell in love with Edna that was no hyperbole. I fell in love with her, and all women in my life simultaneously. I must clarify that I do not mean romantic attraction, but attraction to the natures in and of women. I love my mom is the head of my household, working hard and providing for me every day. I love my great aunt who’s been helping us around the house. I love my sisters who challenge me and allow me to self-reflect. I love my grandmas who despite language barriers continue to care for me. I love Taylor and Aneesha who always make me laugh and who are always there for me when I need a hug. I love my dance teacher, Roberta, I love Ms. Dakota,  I love my sassy cat Coco, I love my dance friends, Claire and Keeley, I love and admire and thank every woman who I’ve met. There is a spiritual beauty between all of us that Chopin let me see in all these women. There is a complex mystic bond that I am so grateful to share with every woman on the planet. It’s like an exclusive club, a sisterhood, a whisper, a loud yell, an understanding that none of us are the same, none of us are “conventional” even if we have traits that match stereotypes that we face every day.

Most significantly, I love myself. I want to run with Edna Pontellier in her childhood field, I want to walk with her around Grand Isle, and I want to strip with her into the ocean, and swim.

(Ironically, I don’t particularly enjoy swimming.)

Self-Ownership – The Awakening PR

The Awakening written by Kate Chopin was an enjoyable read. The novel explores themes of gender roles, societal expectations, marriage, motherhood, individuality, and the limitations imposed on women during the time period. Edna, the main character persuaded emotions of sadness and emptiness while I was reading the story. However, I can also see myself relating to Enda when feeling socially pressured into fitting in.

The main message that hit me was self-ownership. The Awakening showed one woman’s desire to find and live fully within her true self. Also showing how devotion to that purpose causes friction with friends, family, and also conflicts with the dominant values of that time to be independent. The struggle of Edna to be herself and not what others thought she should be really related to me. From my perspective, the social norms of women today are not really that different, except we can have jobs as long as it doesn’t compromise “the family”. In comparison, I have always tried to be true to myself and never just do what people wanted me to. The central theme of feminism and how women can be independent open up spaces of awareness for recognition, especially during times in the past where traditions of men and women’s roles were separated.

Furthermore, on Grand Isle, her relations with Adele Ratignolle and Robert Lebrun were more intense within the story than her relations with Leonce or their children. In the beginning Adele was what Edna wished she could be, but knew she could never be. AR was very beautiful and had an adoring husband and adored her children. It seemed that without them she would cease to exist. At the end , when Edna leaves Adele’s side she begins to feel sad that Adele will never experience “life’s delirium”. From all of Edna’s struggles and hardships she thinks that Adele is not struggling either because she’s never experienced the inner struggle to find freedom? This simply is not a fair judgment. People experience many hardships and struggles in life, just because you think your struggles and pain are not comparable to anyone else is unfair. Everyone has experiences and challenges they have passed, judging someone off your interpreted knowledge of what they have gone through is inaccurate.

The Awakening

Finding one’s self and realizing the error of the old ways is core to Edna’s story. This search for herself and who she is are similar to Pygmalion and A Doll’s House as both those stories also involve rivaling the power that be and subverting them. Edna eventually comes to the same conclusion as them all to “never again belong to another than herself”(P.85). This path she sets herself on to find love and meaning are timeless questions that conclude in a vast sea of despair at her finding no meaningful propose in the world. Her last hope was her love for Robert and her children, but on the realization that those would not last forever, she said, “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.” (P.136) This is sad to me Edna having so little to live for and finding no meaning is disheartening and with no feasible solution, especially after all she tried to do fix it is tragic.

Discovering one’s self-identity is a thing everyone goes through it is something to be considered throughout life but is especially important in the stage of life I am in now as the decision I make now and who I am or want to be now will have an impact on the next decade of my life. At this stage in my life, I am gaining some of the anatomy that Edna is only experiencing for the first time, even thought she is 26. I still have limitations, but those are rapidly fading away and, within a matter of years, disappearing completely. Edna does not have this freedom and comes to the realization that there is no place in the world for her.

The similarities between The dolls House, Pygmalion, and Awakening are very much alike all three feature oppressed women who are seen more as objects than people and men who care more for how the world and their societies see them. All the women eventually leave due to similar circumstances. Edna can’t find a meaningful place in the world and a meaningful self-identity, so she drowns herself, leaving her children and husband, who cared for her well-being. Nora doesn’t know who she is and leaves to try and find out after realizing the world is not how she thought, leaving her children and caring husband. The story is the same with Eliza she leaves to go and find herself and not be molded by the ideas of others. These similarities to me seem like beating a dead horse. They are all different but come back to the same point of self-identity and unfulfillment in life and breaking free of that trend.

Personal Response – The Awakening

Prior to the introduction of The Awakening by Kate Chopin, we were given an introduction through a handout, introducing the characters and the theme of the book. Additionally, we read a few of Chopin’s stories prior to the start of The Awakening. The introduction helped us ease into a mindset to explore the topic which the novel addressed. The theme was the societal expectations and gender roles at its time (late 19th century/turn of the 20th century) in America, particularly concerning women’s desires and independence.

While beginning the novel, I began comparing the protagonist, Edna Pontellier with two similar texts, A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen and Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. Each of these was written in the late 19th to early 20th century where a female protagonist challenges the gender roles, societal expectations, and the struggle for personal freedom and independence.

In particular, I began comparing the way Nora Helmer from A Doll’s House, and Edna Pontellier from The Awakening are treated by their husbands. Despite being written during the same time period and addressing similar themes of gender roles and societal expectations, there are both similarities and differences in how Edna and Nora are treated by their husbands. Both women are initially represented as married woman fulfilling their roles as wives and mothers and are not taken seriously as “thinking” individuals. We see Torvald Helmer treat Nora as a toy and often seen disapproving of Nora’s actions hence the name, “A Doll’s House.” However, although we see Léonce Pontellier being disappointed by Edna’s choice, we see him often letting Edna do as she pleases and often seen with concern for the well-being of his wife.

Although we see the difference in how they were treated on a daily occasion, we see the two women succumb to their social expectations and eventually expelled themselves from society. Despite being of the same time period and similar cultures, I found it interesting how the dynamics were similar yet different in multiple ways. The differences in treatment, yet yield similar results, highlight the complexity and diversity of relationships and how societal expectations can manifest in different ways for different individuals.

“The Awakening” PR

Despite the plot progression remaining at a snail’s pace for most of the novel, I thoroughly enjoyed Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. Our protagonist, Edna, embarks on a journey of self- actualization that speaks volumes not only to the human condition and the liberation of women, but also to a deeply personal theme of discovery and realization. This awakening, as the book is so-cleverly named, mirrors my own feelings with regard to finding purpose, motivation, and direction. However, experiencing Edna’s courage and story invokes an unshakable empathy in me.

Each person reading this will struggle to find a calling in life. Something in their life that provides them joy and allows them to faithfully follow the direction in which they pursue and cherish this extasy-inducing stimuli. In her painting, Edna has found a direction and motivation like nothing she has felt before,

“There were days when she was happy to be alive and breathing, when her whole being seemed to be one with the sunlight, the colors, the odors, the luxuriant warmth of some perfect Southern day…There were days when she was unhappy, she did not know why,-when it did not seem worth while to be glad or sorry, to be alive or dead.”(pg. 68).

The passage above perfectly summarizes the struggle each person faces when searching for meaning in life. The duality of optimism and helplessness highlights the internal struggle Edna faces. My empathy for Edna, as well as my experiences, stems from this passage and others like it. An innate struggle of my experience has been to find direction and a means to faithlessly pursue it. I feel deeply for Edna as a result. Particularly, I have felt unsure about my own future, and what I can accomplish. It is as though I cast a shadow of doubt over each and every decision I make when trying to decipher life’s plan for me. I have at times felt directionless; simply drifting along until I find a calling or purpose to latch on to, lacking any motivation to follow a path that has been set for me. I was constantly left in a state of wonder and awe, as I passively watched as life carried me along a well-beaten path. This is precisely why I have a deep and unwavering sense of empathy for Edna. An additional reason for my connection to Edna lies in the following passage,

“Without even waiting for an answer from her husband for his opinions or wishes in that manner, Edna hastened her preparations for quitting her home on Esplanade Street, and moving into the little house around the block. A feverish anxiety attended her every action in interval of repose in that direction between the thoughts and its fulfillment.”(pg. 99).

Despite her beautiful home, Edna must leave and become fully independent. Her decision is to be admired for its undeniable courage. Edna left a comfortable, safe, and pre-determined life, for the purpose of self-actualization. Her recognition of obstacles inhibiting her progress demonstrates strong will power, and a true desire to change. Moreover, it exhibits Edna’s absolute commitment to the promise she made to herself. An essential component of the human condition is the act of leaving behind what holds you back, no matter the hurt it inflicts. Edna’s story made me recognize my own obstacles and shortcomings stemming from them. This encouraged and enabled me to take risks I normally wouldn’t consider. I now realize this is essential in transforming into my own person, and embracing what makes me unique. However, I still look back with a melancholic nostalgia for a more simple time, when life was laid out for me, as I’m sure many do. Despite this longing for the past, I will no longer allow it to seep into my psyche, and will persevere floating through life’s current; lying in wait for my own awakening.

Constraint Vs. Freedom, The Awakening PR

All night I sat there, glued to the pages. I could not find a place to stop, needing, yearning to finish the book which had me drawn in like a moth to a flame. The end I had anticipated, the gentle ebb and flow of the that immense void which was the start and soon to be the end of Edna Pontellier’s awakening. This is how I felt when reading the last few chapters of The Awakening by Kate Chopin. The complicated emotions that this book sparked in me have been difficult both for me understand and then articulate. In ways that uncomforted and surprised me I could find myself empathizing with the heroine, Edna.

Similar to Edna, I have frequently felt constrained by social pressures and the need to fit in. I could relate to her ongoing desire for independence and a sense of self on a deeply personal level. In an effort to escape the limitations of her life, Edna seeks out fresh encounters and connections throughout the course of the book. She faces opposition and criticism from others around her when she starts to express her independence. Trapped, unable to express yourself and longing for more are somethings that I believe a lot of people can relate to. I couldn’t help but compare Edna’s tribulations to my own endeavours to discover my position in the world.

I could also relate to Edna’s battle with self-identification and goals. I believe a lot of us have trouble figuring out who we are and what we really want from life. Like Edna, I frequently felt as though I was living someone else’s life rather than my own. The novel, in my opinion, serves as a potent reminder that we must be true to ourselves, even if doing so requires making unpopular decisions and defying social expectations.

I had to face some unpleasant facts about myself and the world because of the Awakening. Even though Edna’s suicide in the book made me feel uneasy, I felt empowered by her self-discovery journey. It made me think about society’s expectations of women and how they are expected to sacrifice their own desires in order to satisfy those of others. Edna’s journey serves as a reminder that anyone can be who they want to be and pursue their own goals, even if doing so means going against conventional norms.

Chopin’s Masterpiece

Reading this novel helped achieve a new level of maturity in understanding and in playing the devil’s advocate. Prior to the reading experience, most of my attention was given to the plot of the book, and I paid less attention to the characters and even less on the effect each character has on one another. By reading the story of Edna, I learnt to be empathetic, and understand how actions lead to other actions, thus increasing my knowledge on the relationship between cause and effect. Chopin creates and establishes this new, profound ability in me by creating such a complex character. One that morally lies in the depths of grey, and forces me to pause and ponder over the ingenuity of Chopin when she (Edna) does something.

Edna is not a good person by my standards. I find that once she ‘awakens’, all her actions are self-centered and selfish. Par example, having multiple affairs in her husband’s absence. She takes into no consideration what Leonce might be feeling when she gets sexually intimate with both Robert and Alcee Arobin, and she justified it by stating she has no love for her husband. “What would he think? She did not mean her husband; she was thinking of Robert Lebrun. Her husband seemed like a person whom she had married without love as an excuse “(Pg91). “When he leaned forward and kissed her, she clasped his head, holding his lips to hers” (Pg 98). Furthermore, in the final scenes of the book, in Edna’s last moments, she begins to contemplate all the variables in her life. She thinks of Robert, her children, her husband too, and she realizes just how complicated life can be. Her only desire being Robert and the thought of being unable to have him creates despair, and so she seeks out a selfish solution,  self-inflicted death. Without much thought of the effect and burden that will be placed on the people she leaves, she lets go and allows herself to drown. Edna’s selfishness becomes her demise, once and for all.

However, her actions were justified and from her point of view, logical too. Humans cannot betray their natures. She was sent into a marriage with a nice husband,  cute kids, and living a very comfortable, easy life. However, the societal beliefs were formed on the opinion that those factors alone (nice husband and kids), would be very adequate for any woman, or should be. It was not taken into consideration that not all women would be like Mrs. Ratignolle, and would not derive happiness and satisfaction from only serving their family, and so was the case of Edna. There were no other acceptable lives for women, alongside the fact that divorce was also not an option. Edna was not like most women, and she did not accept a life she did not enjoy living, and so, she sought to change that. She is a strong character for having the courage to oppose robust societal expectations. Furthermore, she was unaware of the reality behind marriages. Her naiivite led her to believe that she knew what true love was, even though she was wrong. But after her awakening, she becomes aware of her situation, and changes it. Her appeasement towards her father led to her unhappiness, so it only makes sense that she tried to be happy and go with what she thinks would make her so.

The story of Edna is a tragedy, and one to be retold for generations far from now. When she became aware of her situation, she began to understand what she truly desired, and as the story unfolds, we discover her desire is Robert.

“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. 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. But she knew how to elude them. She was not thinking of these things when she walked down to the beach” (Pg 136).

The realization of her desires brought forth the realities of a cruel world, one that does not always promise the fruition of a desire, no matter how deep it is. This spelt her demise, her recognition of her sole desire and her inability to obtain it. Knowing the events that led to the end of Edna, was her awakening a good thing?

The Awakening: a necessary process

Recently, we have read the book  “The Awakening”, written by Kate Chopin. It’s an interesting book that has a really special theme, even nowadays when we’re more open. The book is about a poor woman named Edna and her unsuccessful marriage (from her perspective). The setting of the book is Louisiana in the late 19th century when women were not allowed to choose their life path. In such a background, it’s impressive or horrifying that a young lady (at the age of 28) would act “anti-society” and betrayed the “law of morality”. It’s agreed internationally that women have equal rights as men, but it wasn’t a thing back in the time this story has taken place. It’s a tragedy that many lost their freedoms and suffered from classism, but it’s a necessary process in terms of development. Humans tend to learn from their own mistakes, therefore it’s not quite possible that we would actively search for mistakes and solve them.

The Awakening PR

The Awakening by Kate Chopin is a book that could be labeled as a “feminist classic”. The main character Edna Pontellier experiences many feelings and struggles that women face in society. This makes her very relatable to many people including myself. My connection to Edna puzzled me because although we had many similarities Edna’s character was one I was annoyed by. Her actions of breaking gender roles and not conforming to society’s expectations are seen as revolutionary yet I still found her character rather irritable.This was a confusing feeling because I see myself in Edna and yet I don’t like her. This raised many questions and thoughts.

Edna Pontellier’s disregard for her responsibilities to her husband, children and society make her the perfect feminist. Edna feels trapped by the traditional roles and expectations placed upon her by society so she acts on her feelings. Her journey of self discovery leads her to independence from her husband. This is a scandalous act for her time yet she chooses to do what she wants and not fit into the box society made for her. She stops conforming to society’s ideals of a woman by disregarding her mother responsibilities. Instead she prioritizes her own happiness by painting. Her awakening leads her to questioning patriarchal norms. For example she is disgusted by the idea of marriage which was quintessential to a woman’s life in that era. Her actions slowly unfold her awakening and she decides to leave her husband and children which goes against societal expectations for a woman to prioritize her family above all else. 

While all these actions make Edna a prime example of a feminist I still found her unlikeable. This thought was hard to wrap around at first. I was confused how as a woman who has struggled through similar experiences as Edna I could not like her? Does it make me a hypocrite or a bad person? For a long time I wondered what about Edna really made me dislike her. This feeling was like a piece of food stuck in your teeth that you could not get out. I later realized that the reason I dislike Edna is because she is the version of myself I wish to be. As previously stated Edna is the perfect representation of feminism and that’s what I aspire to be. My dislike for Edna is rooted from my envy for her ability to act on her impulses. I am jealous of the way she can disregard what is expected of her and just be who she wants to be. I wish to be able to not care about the standards set by men in today’s society and just be who I want to be. I’m spiteful that Edna got to let go of her responsibilities. I want to swim in my own sea.

The Awakening PR

My first impression of the book The Awakening was from a friend who graduated last year stating that this book was his favourite book throughout his two years of English Literature lessons. Thus, I expected the content of The Awakening would be intriguing. The title was confusing yet intriguing before I started reading, eventually, the title echos with the main character – Edna who “awakens” and tries to defy the social convention.

The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin, depicts Edna, the protagonist, as an unconventional person who tries to defy social convention after her awakening. This book is considered controversial as some of the conflicts are aroused from the contrary of social norms, which is a set of unwritten informal rules obeyed by every individual in the society. The main plot of the story raises the question of what social conventions are important and how important. The social convention provides a model expected behavior of humans in order to maintain order and prevent unnecessary conflict. Human is self-centered, and they live for their own sake and benefit. Without social convention, society would be chaotic since everyone does whatever they want disrespectfully ignoring others’ rights. Right after finishing the book, I could not organize my thoughts on Edna. Should I admire and respect Edna for having the courage to defy social conventions, or despise her for being a deviant in society?

The contrast between Edna and Madame Ratigonolle, who is a mother-woman that praises and sacrifices herself for her family, especially her children, and Edna, who prioritizes herself over everything portrays how Edna deviates from the social convention of motherhood. Edna enjoys and feels liberated when her children and her husband Leonce are away from her.

“I would give up the unessentials; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself.” (Edna, p.56)

Edna emphasizes how significant her own identity apart from a mother and wife of her family means to her, demonstrates her rebellion against the social convention – the role of societal motherhood. However, Edna’s behavior leaves me with a question, which is whether Edna’s behavior has a positive impact on the growth of her children. At the beginning of chapter six, the narrator mentions the comparison between the Pontellier boys and other children, which the Pontellier boys are more likely to “pick himself up, wipe the water out of eyes and the sand out of his mouth, and go on playing” instead of “rush and cry to their mother’s arm for comfort.” The Pontellier boys toughen themselves up under Edna’s “negligence” rather than being a “mom’s kid”, who overly relies on their mother for everything. This questions the role of typical motherhood. What should the role a mother play to her children? Should they be over-protective, depriving the opportunity for their children to grow, or let go of their children?

The sea is a metaphor and symbol of freedom in The Awakening. Edna nostalgizes her childhood which she uses to walk through the boundless grass that is higher than her waist when she is at the beach, looking at the sea with Madame Ratignolle. The sea offers a calm and relaxed feeling, as an infinite fantasy for reflecting on the past and dreaming for the future. The endlessness of the sea at the horizon provokes a relief and freedom which Edna is yearning for. Edna’s attempt to swim but retreat after symbolizes the inability of Edna to pursue freedom and ignore all the stereotypes that standardize her role as a societal woman.

The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude. (p.136)

At the end of The Awakening, Edna decides to commit suicide by drowning herself in the sea. This quote appears almost verbatim in this book twice, the first time on page 15, the beginning of Edna’s awakening, and the second time on page 136, before Edna’s suicide.

But the beginning of things, of a world especially, is necessarily vague, tangled, chaotic, and exceedingly disturbing. How few of us ever emerge from such beginning! How many souls perish in its tumult! (p.15)

I related “the beginning of things” in this quote to Edna’s awakening. Her awakening is ambiguous, disorganized, and troubling. The word “tumult” can be interpreted as unrest and chaos, thus, Edna has been destinated to disruption from the beginning of her awakening. Edna’s eventual suicide symbolizes her surrender to reality and drowning herself signifies her relief to the infinite freedom that she has been longing for.

In my opinion, I did not enjoy the slow pacing of The Awakening. However, The Awakening questions the role of social convention in society which provokes me to consider about. I also really enjoy the symbol of the sea in this book and the echoing of the events.

“The Awakening” PR – Prejudices & Constraints

The Awakening is a novel written by Kate Chopin in 1899. I particularly enjoy reading this novel. Edna Pontellier’s awakening and self-discovery process from her own perspective is indeed intoxicating and enlightening. I also admire Chopin’s courage to criticize such a conventional society. Though first I have to admit, I thought the story is going to have a happy ending. I have not, in any way, expected the ending of the story. Due to the complexity of the character’s personalities and plots, the reading process raises a lot of questions related to societal constraints, gender stereotypes, and love. Commenting on the story plot, the story is sophisticated. The authorial choices are brilliant in terms of summarizing and infiltrating Chopin’s personal opinions in the plots. Every single detail that Chopin has written matters and contributes greatly to Edna’s coming-of-age.

Love is one of the main issues explored in this novel. The relationship between Edna and Robert Lebrun is one main factor that propels and perhaps, initiates Edna’s desire to awaken. Moreover, to pursue what she truly wants deep inside after living and sleeping in the dream that society sets for women. Edna’s emotions are complicated, and so are the other characters. Their emotions are always contradicting, which confuses me sometimes. I could neither figure out what is their ultimate intention for carrying out specific events nor answer the question “What is love?”. Robert’s inconsistently leaving Edna is a great example. Mademoiselle Reisz is the one who guides and accompanies Edna during her awakening. Also, the one who points out the reason for Robert repetitively leaving her is because he loves her. It seems to me, if you truly love a person, you would do anything to protect her, be together with her, and not hurt her feelings. There are some phrases that indicate Robert’s romantic feelings toward her through his body language and facial expression. But does Robert truly loves Edna?

“The house was empty. But he had scrawled on a piece of paper that lay in the lamplight: ‘I love you. Good-by —- because I love you.'” (p. 133)

This quote shows the last time Edna sees Robert before she commits suicide. Robert is leaving Edna again even after Edna has expressed to him that the idea of him leaving again and again is making her suffer and depressed. Robert does not accompany Edna when she is depressed and needs him the most. Instead, leaving to escape his feelings every time. Robert is the one male character that interacts most with Edna. He has way more intimate communication with Edna than Léonce Pontellier and Alcée Arobin do. So, if he understood his leaving has hurt Edna’s feelings over and over again, why would he keep leaving and breaking her heart? This action shows he cares about society’s impression of him more than his desire to be with Edna. Robert is practicing this desperate action to save his appearance and reputation. Since he does not want to give the impressions that Arobin gives (Arobin always flirts and seduces married women, so he has a bad reputation). He would rather choose his reputation over Edna. So, if Robert truly loves her, he would have embraced her identity as Léonce Pontellier’s wife and stayed with her.

 

Societal constraints and gender stereotypes are interrelated in Edna’s awakening process. These two factors are interrelated and raise a lot of questions, for example, “Is Edna a bad person? A bad wife? A bad mother?” and “What obligations do parents have to their children?”.

“‘The trouble is,’ sighed the Doctor, grasping her meaning intuitively, ‘that youth is give up to illusions. It seems to be a provision of nature; a decoy to secure mothers for the race. And Nature takes no account of moral consequences, of arbitrary conditions which we create, and which we feel obliged to maintain at any cost.'”(p. 132)

This quote is spoken by Doctor Mandelet. The 19th century was a patriarchal society that was dominated by men’s privileges while women have no rights. Most men in that society only care about their personal interests and simply treat women as their business possessions. So, it confuses me how a male doctor is able to successfully summarize Edna’s perspective. Other than that, it shows Edna does not understand why women must follow the constraints set by society. The societal constraints are greatly related to gender stereotypes. Since the 19th century hopes people to obligate to the arbitrary moral standard that society creates without questioning it. And the moral standard for women is to be good wives and mothers to take care of the family because according to Mr. Pontellier,

“If it was not a mother’s place to look after children, whose on earth was it?” (p. 6)

This quote shows that society has normalized and set a particular type of “job” that each gender should be responsible for within a family. This societal constraint is set by men’s prejudices toward women. Men think that women are unable of doing anything, except take care of the family. Edna does a good job in terms of pleasing and serving her husband, and family. So, this shows Edna is a good wife. During the awakening, Edna prefers to be alone and away from her family. But that doesn’t mean she is a bad mother because she still goes to visit her children in Iberville and replies to their letters cheerfully.

“‘I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself.'” (p. 56)

In this quote, Edna states that she would give up all things for her children, except her freedom. Her unwillingness of giving up her freedom does not make her a bad mother. Although she has obligations to take care of her children, she attempts to find the balance point between having alone time and spending time with her children.

Overall, I have reflected on how society’s views have changed toward the above societal issues in the past two centuries. The 21st century is comparatively less constrained, conventional, and more open. Though, some people are still affected by those issues because they still exist nowadays. One thing I greatly admire is Chopin’s courage to freely express herself and set standards for a new women’s generation.  In the novel, Edna’s courage to pursue what she wants even under tons of social constraints greatly encourages me to pursue what I value and allows me to speak for myself more often.

PR The Awakening

When we started reading this book in class, I wasn’t really a fan of it but over time it really felt like a powerful and thought-provoking novel. Cate Chopin did a really good job in exploring and describing the social and psychological constraints placed upon women in the late 19th century. As I read the first few chapters, I did not really know how to think about Edna as the main character. Her character felt incomplete, maybe even like a child on it’s journey to grow up. Early in the book we can see how Edna becomes increasing disillusioned with her role in society and begins to question the traditional expectations placed upon her. The book raised a few questions for me such as, who Edna really is and what are her goals?

Right at the beginning of the novel we get involved in Ednas struggles to fit into her role as traditional woman in the 19th century. Throughout the book, Chopin skillfully explores themes of female sexuality, gender roles, marriage, and social class. She depicts Edna’s struggles to define her own identity, to break free from societal expectations, and to pursue her own desires and passions. One sentence I won’t forget and especially a sentence that shaped my opinion about Enda is as follows

“I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself. I can’t make it more clear; it’s only something which I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me.”

This sentence or statement feels to me like an expression for her growing sense of self awareness and desire for personal fulfillment and independence. Although I highly doubt that’s something a woman should be thinking and feeling about her role as a mother. For me it feels like Edna’s character is well developed but, doesn’t fit in a mother role. I have observed and feel that Edna’s personality is on par with a 25 year old. She has never had independence and other key experiences in her life and yet she is a mother, how can that be?

Overall, Chopin’s novel was groundbreaking in its time, and it remains a powerful statement on the importance of individual freedom and self-expression to this day. I really liked the beginning but got confused throughout the end and I am not happy with the ending. The way the book described Ednas journey and her growing sense of  awareness (her awakening) is really well portrayed. I can emphatize with all the stages she goes through on her journey to get a fully grown adult, as she physically is.

PR: The Awakening

Recently, when I did my PR on how I felt about A Dolls House, I wrote about how as the book went on, my opinion of it improved hugely due to the way Henrick Ibsen’s characters started to relate with me more about the issues in the book as it progressed. With The Awakening by Kate Chopin, I felt somewhat of an opposite feeling. My initial opinion of the book was pretty good. I liked the more modern style of writing in contrast to all of the old plays we had been doing and I liked how interesting and full of life each character was and all of the what ifs that were posed. Who is the lady in black?, how about the lovers? and what in the world is Roberts relationship with Edna. but the main question, which we often talked about in class, was, where is Edna’s character going to end up.

Right from the beginning it is clear that Edna is complicated. This can be amazing for a story if it can contribute to the mystery or the drama but in this case, it’s kind of annoying. Edna is relaxing on a nice vacation with lots of money, friends and time. Even when she is back in New Orleans, she has the house to herself –once Leonce leaves for New York– with all the time to relax in the world. and yet, the whole book seems to hone in on poor Edna what will we do. The best example of what annoys me so much about her, is that the decisions she makes deteriorate in quality significantly as the book goes into its final chapters.

 “Mademoiselle, I am going to move away from my house on Esplanade Street.” (p. 93)

“You are purposely misunderstanding me, ma reine. Are you in love with Robert?”

“Yes,” said Edna. It was the first time she had admitted it, and a glow overspread her face, blotching it with red spots. (p. 96)

When [Alcee] leaned forward and kissed her, she clasped his head, holding his lips to hers. (p. 98)

Nothing she goes through is not instigated by her own bad decisions. And I really cannot relate to anything she decides to do in the book. Finally, after all of the drama in the last few chapters, the book is abruptly ended with Edna committing suicide. Cutting Edna’s story short, and with it a few of the mysteries left over. I ended the book thinking, Why did Robert leave? What happened with Leonce and the children? who in the world is the woman in black, and the lovers?? I felt uncomfortable as I closed the book, but at the end of the day I realized that I did not care enough to find these things out either way.

Thoughts on Pygmalion

As we started reading the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Show, I honestly felt intrigued. The impression from the little introduction to this work planted an idea that this will be some cliché romance novel, as I circled back to the idea of this play originating from a Greek myth of Cyprus; a sculptor who had no interest in local women and instead carved a sculpture of his ideal girl, named her Galatea and instantly fell in love with her. He was head over heels for his creation, and quickly found himself obsessed with it, later asking Aphrodite to bring the statue to real life, as she does, being flattered by the fact that Cyprusי inspiration was indeed herself. The story ends with everyone being merry. However, this was not quite the case with this play.
The story of a simple poor girl Eliza Doolittle who turns out to be very independent from a young age, sells flowers on the street. She later meets a strange man, Mr.Higgins, a wealthy professor who does not need to bother working himself to sleep as he is so rich. Eliza starts to take speech and behaviour lessons from him in order to sound and look like an upper class woman.

The conditions Eliza is met with in the following weeks are not as great as they might seem at first, as being allowed to live in a wealthy home, eat, sleep and wear fine clothes are all very new experiences to Ms. Doolittle. Her life is difficult, having an unfortunate childhood and growing up with no mother, an alcoholic dad and living in a strict household causes her to experience anxiety at the new place; but she continues to work hard knowing that this is her chance to change her life.
To this all I can slightly relate to, as the situation that Eliza appears in reminds me of our grade transition to DP1 IB; having to adjust to a new lifestyle and working hard towards our dreams. This makes the play Pygmalion one of the examples that show that hard work always pays off.

The duo of Eliza and the housekeeper Mrs. Pearce I found very comforting as well as Eliza`s communication with Pickering. This was the girls first time taking a proper bath, and talking to a real gentleman, with the contrast of Higgins, which I found really cute.

“Sit down“ – Higgins
(Eliza stands, half rebellious, half bewildered)
“Won’t you sit down?“ – Pickering
`Don’t mind if I do“ ( she sits down) – Eliza pg.14

The closer we got to the end of the play, the more I got annoyed by Higgins. He is so used to using his status card everywhere he goes, mentioning his education and wealth as if these are his personality traits. oh, well at this point it almost seems like they are! Clearly in his world, money does solve all the problems. He also thinks that wealth determines a person’s value, therefore laughs at Eliza when she confidently confesses her love for Freddy, and that she will marry him as soon as he is able to support her.

“Rubbish! You shall marry the ambassador. You shall marry the Governor-General of India or the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, or somebody who wants a deputy-queen. I’m not going to have my my masterpiece thrown away on Freddy“ pg.70 -Higgins

“…Mr. Higgins, left alone, rattles his cash in his pocket; chuckles; and disports himself in a highly self-satisfied manner“pg.72

Pygmalion is a great play which shows how important it is to stick to the opportunities around us. And while some people just need a little nudge in order to help them stand straight on the their feet, they will run, just like Eliza who ran straight to her bright future; others won’t even bother listening, just like Professor Higgins, he is an inexorable person who is hard-headed and cannot be convinced to change, no matter what. At the end of the day, this whole situation doesn’t seem to have changed his view on the world and people in the slightest.

Pygmalion Reflection

I want to start by saying that I have never been more agitated or annoyed by the character Mr. Henry Higgins. He was rude, obnoxious, arrogant, and just downright disrespectful, almost exclusively toward Eliza Doolittle. He seemed to believe that just because she was of the lowest of social classes, she had no feelings and deserved no respect, then proceeded to bully her terribly. She was just a challenge; a chance to boost his already dangerously inflated ego. Even after he taught her how to speak properly, he still refused to respect her and treated her like dirt. What made him even more infuriating to me is when Eliza told him everything wrong with him and he asked her if she’d seen him treat anybody better, implying that she is not special and would not receive special treatment which in his case, Is common human decency. And it was so rude because he does treat his mother, Mrs. Pearce, and Colonel Pickering better. To sum it all up, he dared to sneer at her for having the confidence to leave him and not look back.

It is for the exact opposite reasons that I prefer Colonel Pickering. I admire his humility despite his being a colonel and as literate as Henry Higgins. From the start, he only addressed Eliza as a lady even when Higgins had not made her one yet. I feel like he kind of served as the balance in the whole affair. Henry is mannerless and Colonel Pickering almost compensates for it.

Another thing I don’t fully understand is the title. Pygmalion is a myth about a man that sculpted his perfect woman, prayed that she would be alive, his prayers got answered, and married her. One may argue that Higgins figuratively built his ideal woman but he either started genuinely falling for her and decided to double down on his mannerlessness for reasons best not to him or he is just a terrible person all around.

In conclusion, the play is quite lovely and I probably would have enjoyed it more if not for Henry’s repulsive and quite frankly, distasteful behavior.

Pygmalion PR – Neutrality

Pygmalion is a play that I read. It was a read, that’s for sure. I did not hate consuming it, nor did I particularly enjoy either. I don’t think there’s ever been a book that I’ve felt so little towards in my literary history. So when it comes to writing out my personal feelings toward it, I’m stuck. As I’m writing this late, I read some of the other responses from my classmates. Some compared it to A Doll’s House and I thought maybe I’d write about that. I even began to plan out a discussion about the inherent power of men, and how Mr. Higgins has no respect for the people around him. These texts I could write would not be very personal though, and I’d get caught up in the analytical practices of writing, which isn’t the goal. After reflecting over a couple of days, I think I know why I didn’t have much of an opinion on it; there wasn’t time for me to collect my thoughts.

The time skip that cuts Eliza’s vocal process out of the story bothered me. If Shaw wanted to show portray a story of mistreatment and lack of cultural respect, then he should’ve shown her training. The sudden change to already testing her skills at Mrs. Higgins’s at-home day left no room for deliberation, and it felt like I had a chapter or two missing. The lack of directly seeing Eliza being taught, and the rude nature Henry approaches her with really left me confused. In their argument they toss around the importance of Eliza’s clothes and her ring, these objects had meaning to Eliza as we watch her and Higgins ramble on, “HIGGINS: Hand them over. If these belonged to me instead of to the jeweller, I’d ram them down your ungrateful throat. / LIZA: This ring isnt the jeweller’s: it’s the one you bought me in Brighton. I don’t want it now” (pg. 53). On a stage, how could we have known that out of the various rings Eliza was wearing that one of them had special significance? I’d be more invested in these discussions if perhaps we’d been shown these moments of Higgins buying her the ring, and then that could provide more emotional depth to the fact that he chucks it in the fire, and then subsequently how Eliza goes to desperately retrieve it. It just felt like the story was incomplete while I was reading it.

I had no bonds with the world of Pygmalion. Which left me an uncaring reader. I couldn’t relate to Eliza, nor could I relate to Henry or anyone. I understand there are certain timeframes that are expected for plays, and maybe I’m completely in the wrong while writing this. All I know is, Pygmalion didn’t have much of an impact on me personally, and that I’m excited for the next book and set of excerpts that we get to read.

Pygmalion PR- My Slightly Biased Opinion

At first, I figured I would love this book because one of my favourite movies was based off it called My Fair Lady, starring Audrey Hepburn, whom I adore. But after reading the book, I found myself loving it even more. For starters, I felt more connected to Eliza after reading the book than I had watching the movie/musical adaptation. Eliza has this huge journey through the play that she takes to try and better herself. She is very ambitious and I connect to that part of her character. More specifically, Eliza’s desire to be someone else, and possessing the knowledge that you are destined to do something much greater than what has been decided for you.

In my case, I am not a poor flower girl living in England in the early 1900’s, but I definitely still experience the whole ‘having your future decided for you’. Not in the same way of course, but this feeling definitely still arises when talking to my parents about universities and possible career choices. In Eliza’s case however, it is her social class and her Cockney accent that decides her future. From the very beginning, Eliza was never destined for greatness. But it was her determination to make something great out of herself that I find so admirable about her. Rather than viewing this play as an intelligent, well-off man trying to transform a weak (vulnerable) woman, I prefer to see it as a strong, inspiring woman who is determined to achieve her goals in life and is willing to overcome any obstacles that are in the way.

Another part of the play that always had, and continues to, strike me is the treatment Eliza receives from the male characters, Mr. Higgins and Colonel Pickering, and the very obvious themes of sexism. We all know by now where Pygmalion gets its name. And at first, I was very confused as to how the original myth related to the play by Shaw even in the slightest. When in reality, it actually makes perfect sense. Both the main male characters in each of the stories are seen creating “the perfect woman” fit to their own ideals. All of Eliza’s freedoms are stripped from her when she goes to Higgin’s to take speaking lessons. Before, she may have been a poor, working-class girl, but she had the freedom to choose her friends, and she doesn’t have to listen to anyone but herself. But once she begins to live with Higgins, she no longer has those choices. She can eat all the chocolate she wants and wear all the fancy dresses, but she no longer has the freedom of her old life. This can also relate to A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen as well. For example, how Torvald treats Nora as an incapable child and tries to control her life.

 

Of course, the film/musical adaptation, My Fair Lady, will always hold a special place in my heart. I will always be the same young girl dancing around in my grandmother’s living room, trying to mimic Hepburns charisma and grace, but this book was my favourite out of any so far. While I may be slightly biased, I genuinely believe that everyone should read this book in their lifetime.

Language is a badge of Social Classes Pygmalion

Pygmalion, by George Bernard Show made me realize the importance about the theme of Middle class morality, and the mistreatment and objectification of women in society, and the people who are in lower classes then others. Pygmalion signifies  how the english language has the result to shape and change us, and how we are persuaded into viewing people wholly based upon the way they speak. Language can further indicate numerous things, our values, culture, education, decency and social class. Pygmalion targets our temerity about language and problems connecting to how classes in society are treated differently.

The characters in this play are separated into two definite classes based upon the way they speak the English language. In contrast, we can evidently see how the lower-class working people talk in a little impolite way, with slang and cockney accents. Compared to the higher-class group of people who talk in a more fashionable way, with sophisticated vocabulary, and strict grammar that is more polite in a speaking manner. Furthermore, Eliza Doolittle, the flower-lady who at the start of the play was a broke working-class lady that talked obnoxiously loud, and impolite, with a cockney accent, can be compared to Professor Higgins, the very rich, highly educated english man who talks in sophisticated way. The difference in social classes established through language can be seen throughout the play. An example, of the contrast between the lower class talking to higher class can be seen here with a significant difference in the language both speak in. In Act 1, when Eliza is trying to sell flowers to the gentlemen.

Eliza: “Garn! Oh do buy a flower off me, Captain. I can change half-a-crown. Take this for tuppence.”

The Gentlemen: “Now don’t be troublesome: there’s a
good girl. I really haven’t any change—
Stop: here’s three hapence, if that’s any use to you

Eliza: “Thanks, sir”

The Mother: “Now tell me girl! Where are your parents?”

Eliza: “I ain’t got no parents.”

This conversation is when Eliza say’s the name of the mother’s son “Freddy” while trying to sell her flowers. In the start we can see Eliza uses the slang word “Garn” and after say’s “ain’t” this shows the side of her impolite style and can she can be seen in a lower class level. Compared to the Gentlemen who talked in clear grammatic sentences. This further shows the difference in social status between both people.
Pygmalion, incorporates the importance of language when it comes to how we speak, and how we can be viewed from our background through language, is based on our interactions with everyone. This underlying fact may stay the same due to our assumptions of the people around us, and how language affects our identities.

Pygmalion PR

“Pygmalion” written by George Bernard Shaw is a book based off the Ancient Greek myth about the artist who fell in love with his own sculpture. While reading this play and watching the movie adaptation I often found myself comparing the main antagonist Henry Higgins to Torvald Helmer in “A Dolls House” written by Henrick Ibsen. This comparison brought up many questions such as How do men treat women in society?  These questions and the thoughts they provoked caused me to think about my own place in society and my own feelings about the gender war.

Torvald Helmer and Henry Higgins are men that have many of the same qualities. The first similarity is their own superiority complex, they both believe that men are far above the likes of women. For example, in “A Dolls House” Torvald does not trust Nora with any business because he believes her to be incapable.  An example of this is when he says,

“I would not be a true man if your feminine helplessness did not make you doubly attractive in my eyes” (p.95).

Similarly, Henry also sees women as inferior to men, for example when he says,

“women might as well be blocks of wood” (p.28)

objectifying Eliza. The second comparison is how they addressed their female companions. Henry always called Eliza by her first name even though the proper etiquette was to say Mrs. Doolittle. Instead, by calling her Eliza, he showed his disrespect and how he viewed her as a piece of art to be studied rather than a human. Similarly, in “a Dolls House” Torvald’s pet names for Nora objectified her and showed how Torvald viewed her as a child that needed to be controlled.  Lastly the scariest comparison between the two characters was how they treated women like dolls. The phrase of the protagonist women being treated like a doll came up in both books. In “Pygmalion” Mrs. Higgins says to Henry and Pickering

You certainly are a pretty pair of babies, playing with your live doll” (p.35).

This reoccurring concept in both plays raised many questions and personal feelings.

I previously used the word “scary” to describe the similarity of women being treated like dolls by men because the concept scares me. Seeing this idea appear in two plays consecutively really brought my attention to it. How are women treated by men in society? Both plays were set in the past, so it is easy to dismiss the sexism as an “old problem” or something that is irrelevant in today’s world. But I don’t think that is the case. Everywhere I go little examples of sexism are presented right in front of me whether it’s a remark made under their breath, or a questionable social media post. I think that “scary” can be applied to how men treat women in all of society’ s past and present. This question raised many personal feelings and thoughts on how this affects me. As a woman, I sadly wasn’t surprised by this. This dehumanization is a constant battle I must face every day for the rest of my life. These plays really solidified that fact.

Side note: obviously not all men are like this please don’t get offended or come at me for this post.

Personal Response – Pygmalion

Prior to the introduction of, Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw, we were given an introduction through a handout, introducing the characters and the theme of the book. The introduction helps us ease into a mindset to explore the topic which the play addresses. The theme is the societal expectations and gender roles at its time (19th century). The theme is the contrast between social classes and the distinctions based on accent, manners, and education.

 

When I went through the play, I felt a strange sense of comradery with the three protagonists, Higgins, Pickering, and Eliza. Higgins struggles with feeling like an outsider due to being different from the “norm”, which can lead to loneliness. Pickering has a respectful manner of speech towards everyone, even those of the lower class. While Eliza’s strict upbringing also resonates with me. I feel a strong connection with Eliza in particular, as she is constantly pushed by Higgins, but never receives any recognition for her hard work. Instead, Higgins uses her accomplishments to brag to others, including his mother. I can relate to this experience, and so can many of the people I know who had a strict upbringing focused on achieving certain talents or skills, yet never being given proper credit for the hard work put into developing them.

 

The similarity between my experiences and the characters made me realize the striking similarity between our two distant societies. Many of the issues they face are still prevalent in society today, albeit in different forms. For example, the feeling of being an outsider due to being different from the “norm” is still a challenge faced by many individuals today. Additionally, the emphasis placed on achieving certain talents or skills for the sake of social status or recognition is still a common theme in our society. While the specifics of these struggles may have changed over time, the underlying issues remain the same.

Language in Pygmalion

Pygmalion, what a funny name. Then again it is only funny to me because the language of Greek is so vastly different than the language of English. Or is it? Thousands of words in English are thought to be derived from the greek form, languages are diverse and so are the people that speak them. Pygmalion illustrates how language has the ability to mould and change us, as well as how universally shared the desire for self-discovery is. Our image of ourselves and others is shaped by the languages we speak. The crux of George Bernard Shaw’s masterwork Pygmalion is a commentary on the social and linguistic distinctions that exist within society and how language is frequently employed as a marker of class and rank. Language can symbolise many things, including our culture, values, beliefs, and social class. The play confronts our presumptions about language and addresses significant issues regarding how language affects our identities and interpersonal interactions.

The characters in the play are divided into two distinct classes based on how they use the English language. In opposed to the lower-class characters, who talk with a working-class accent and utilise colloquialisms and slang, the upper-class characters are shown as having a sophisticated vocabulary and strictly following grammar and syntax standards. In the words of lower-class flower girl Eliza Doolittle, “I ain’t dirty: I washed my face and hands afore I come, I did.” The play tackles the concept that language may be used as a tool to uphold social boundaries and perpetuate class inequalities through the character of Eliza. While Eliza confesses, “I’m a good girl, I am,” the upper-class people view her as inferior because of her lower-class accent and language. The difference in social class illustrated through language can been seen throughout the play, one particular example of the contrast between lower and higher social classes can be seen in the way Eliza and Higgins speak. Eliza speaks in a cockney accent, using slang and improper grammar, while Higgins speaks in proper Received Pronunciation. In Act 1, when Eliza first meets Higgins, their different social classes are immediately evident through their speech:

Eliza: “Garn! Don’t be so saucy. You ain’t condescending to me, are you? You’re a middle-class lark, that’s what you are.”

Higgins: “I haven’t said a word yet. What makes you think I’m a middle-class lark?”

Eliza: “You talk like one. I’m a good girl, I am.”

Higgins: “I can see that. You also have the manners of a queen.”

In this conversation, Eliza’s use of the word “saucy” and the addition of “ain’t” instead of “aren’t” betray her lower class status. Higgins, on the other hand, speaks in perfect, grammatically correct sentences, further emphasizing his higher class background and further illustrating the difference in social status.

Pygmalion serves as a reminder that language is a potent instrument that can be used to both include and exclude, and that good communication is crucial to forging deep relationships with people. The way we use language may influence our interactions and our perception of the world around us, whether we are speaking with close friends and family or complete strangers from around the world.

Pygmalion PR

Pygmalion, a play by George Bernard Shaw, is named after a famous Greek myth. I did not know what I felt after watching and reading the play as it seemed realistically unrealistic. The play is mainly about the process of a common flower girl named Eliza upgrading her social class by learning the accent of a higher social class from the linguistic professor, Henry Higgins. Pygmalion is originally a myth Pygmalion creates a sculpture that matches the ideal image of his own creation, and then he falls in love with it. Henry Higgins and Colonel Pickering teach Eliza to adapt to the proper English and sculpt her to become a “dutchess”. The ending of Pygmalion is different from the myth of Pygmalion, in which Eliza did not fall in love with either of them, yet she threatens Higgins at the end of the play. Eliza symbolizes the ideal creation, and Higgins symbolizes the sculptor.

The conflict between language and social class derives from Pygmalion. The relationship between language and social class can still be seen nowadays, in every country. “The more standard version of the dialect you speak, the higher social class you belong to” becomes the norm of modern days. It also represents that you have higher education. How do language and manner be the identification of a person? In Pygmalion, both language and manner are used to identify a person’s social class and position. Eliza speaks Cockney English her behavior recognizes her as the lowest social class at the beginning of the play. In my opinion, manner is vigorously associated with a person’s identification. From how a person behaves and talks, I can determine his education level and his background. This is the reason why manner and language are inevitable in the identification of a person.

Pygmalion and A Doll’s House are contrasting plays that include different themes and stories. Eliza is illustrated as a rebellious person when Nora in A Doll’s House is depicted as a doll that fulfills her husband’s wishes. However, similarly, the two female characters of these two plays both have similar endings, in which they both leave their men and have control of their own life. I admire their courage and determination of taking control of their own lives. “I sold flowers. I didn’t sell myself” (act 4) is my favorite quote throughout the book. It caught my attention and hit my heart when I was reading the play.

Compare to other literature we read this year, Pygmalion has an informal and conversational diction that makes it less challenging to read. However, it is unrealistic that the social class of a person changes when their accent changes. This is the most impenetrable part of the play.

 

PR to Pygmallion

The adaptation of the original story by Bernard Shaw was quite clever, as he was able to transform a romance story from early times, into a realistic drama that lacks romance but is still considered one by many people. The original story involves a sculptor, who sculpted his ideal woman, and the goddess Aphrodite granted his wish by bringing her to life, which led to  them they getting married with everyone happy. Shaw’s adaptation on the hand was very different, it had a childish and almost hateful relationship between the main male and female cast in the story. (Liza) “I won’t care for anybody that doesn’t care about me”, (Higgins)” Commercial principles, Eliza (reproducing her Covent Garden pronunciation with professional exactness) s’yollin voylets, isn’t it? “(Liza) “Don’t sneer at me. It’s mean to sneer at me”. (Higgins) “I have never sneered at anyone in my life.” (Pg, 68). Most of their interactions ends up with a fierce argument, over some silly dilemma, usually ones that can be solved easily too. Now, knowing that it was adapted from a romance, you would expect Liza and Higgins to make up somehow and end up falling for each other and then getting married. But that notion is destroyed, as the play ends with yet another argument between them, and Liza going against Higgins’ wishes and marrying the very man he despises, and thinks of as a wimp and an embarrassment, not worthy of the masterpiece he created.

However, you could argue that Higgins might have had some feelings but his nature got in the way and ruined things.  (Higgins) “About you, not about me. If you come back I shall treat you just as I have always treated you. I can’t change my nature, and I don’t intend to change my manners. My manners are exactly the same as Colonel Pickering’s”. (Pg, 66). (Higgins) “I can do without anybody. I have my own soul: my own spark of divine fire. But (with sudden humility) I shall miss you”. (Pg, 67). (Higgins) ” You might  even be what they call “attractive”. (Pg 56). It is evident that Higgins has some warm feelings towards her, but they are likely not romantic  due to the lack of evidence. Although, the peculiarity about Higgin’s character is that those feelings could be romantic but because of his nature, they are expressed in ways in which we (the audience) are unable to decipher.

Pygmalion PR

Throughout the entire duration of this course, no text makes me reflect the way Pygmalion has. The text invokes timeless themes, many of which I can easily identify with. These themes include “Middle class morality”, the mistreatment and objectification of women in society, and the self-supposed superiority that some hold over others. Pygmalion forced me to reflect not only on what I read, but also how I conduct myself. This text has provided an alternative perspective into subconscious and systematic biases in my own psyche. With brutal honesty, Pygmalion casts a light on the part of ourselves we choose not to realize, and forces us to confront our flawed thinking. Never has a text allowed me to feel this seen, and permitted me to address and reflect upon my own flaws.

From birth, the idea that it is wrong to judge others based off our first impressions of them, especially with regard to another’s appearance. However, the vast majority of individuals, myself included, victimize others with our premade notions and assumptions of their character, within seconds of seeing, interacting with, or even simply hearing another person. Pygmalion presents this bias in the third person, allowing for us to recognize and address a prejudice which we all possess,

“There’s menners f’yer. Tee-oo branches o voylets trod in the mad…She is not at all an attractive person. She is eighteen, perhaps twenty, hardly older…Her hair needs washing rather badly: its mousy coloring can hardly be natural…Her features are no worse than theirs; but their condition leaves something to be desired.”(pg. 2).

Mrs. Eynsyard-Hill and her daughter, Clara, are almost a comedic allegory for this bias. Two well-too-do women cast their judgment upon an unsuspecting girl, based upon nothing more than her looks and her spoken word. Through this third person perspective, this systematic error of thinking that each and everyone of us possesses is brought to light and mocked. We are able to see the damage that prejudices can do within seconds of interacting with someone. Further, our greatest collective fear with regards to this bias are demonstrated in the pair’s attitudes towards the girl, whose name is Eliza. This fear is that we are able to recognize that those who we unjustly judge are no different from ourselves, yet our biased judgements persist. This passage remains a pristine example of the unjust judgements that we burden others with. This forced me to honestly evaluate my demeanor upon making a first impression, and made me promise to myself to no longer allow flawed and discriminatory thinking plague my mind.

These judgments, when widely held within a society, can pass irreparable and lasting damage to those who fall victim to them. Over time, this causes innocent individuals to view themselves as “lesser than”, and forces them to live and hold themselves to the standards of those who judge them. this so-called, “middle-class morality”, is a recurring theme throughout the text, and is best demonstrated in the following passage,

“Have you no morals man?”

“Can’t afford them, governor. Neither could you if you were as poor as me. Not that I mean any harm, you know. But if Liza is going to have a but of this, why not me too?”(pg. 27).

Alfred Doolittle is the personified victimhood experienced by those who have unjust judgement cast upon them. He feels as though he has no clear place inn a society that makes it clear he is unwanted. The society in which he lives discriminates against him for his profession, speech, behavior, demeanor, and appearance. This single passage is the most profound and personally striking piece of text I have read during the duration of this entire course. The presentation of the implications of my own systematic errors in thinking have shown me a final perspective into the lives of those who are the most affected by society’s prejudice. This character made me look the consequences of my biases in the face, and most vitally, address them in an honest manner.

 

Pygmalion PR

This book really takes you back in time to when people had a very different mentality and ways of living life. The part of the experimenting with Eliza was clearly fictional, they made it seem like this could have happened back then, and I wouldn’t doubt that it did.

My favorite character in the book was definitely Eliza, she was the character who most grew as a person. She went from a “flower girl” to marrying Higgins, a man who has a high place in society. From the moment when she had her first bath to the moment she decided to stand up for herself after a very un deserved treatment from Mr. Higgins you can see the growth she experienced after living this life. She was a very funny character and I enjoyed the time she was on screen.

My favorite scene was when they went back home and Mr Higgins couldn’t find his slippers, and as soon as you know she is throwing them at his face, that was the moment she exploded towards him and stood up for herself after a terrible treatment from his part. By the end of the night Eliza wounded up in Mrs. Higgins house, where she later on saw Higgins and her father, which was double the surprise (one worse than the other of course). It was all so caiotic but fun to see at the same time, and then she married Freddy which was even better. I actually did like the ending all though I do wish Higgins ended up being better to her.

 

PR Pygmalion

As I first read the book, I felt kind of thrown back in Time. The characters and the way the book was written was traditionally old. The way the character talked with each other and the etiquette was lovely. I really liked the way, how detailed the sceneries where described (at the beginning of Act II).

The Play also has an intriguing way to describe the social hierarchy in Edwardian England. Since the beginning of the book we followed the growth and integration of Eliza in the high-society Englands. Her journey from the lower class as a flower girl to the upper class as a lady is pictured as a often humiliating and difficult experience. Shaw the Author uses Eliza’s transformation as a way to critique he unfairness and destructive of class distinctions and the imitation they impose on individuals (Eliza). The book raises many questions about past society and todays society. In more than 150 years there are still some defects and missing constructions such as gender roles and power dynamics between men and woman. Throughout the play, Higgins treats Eliza as an object and project to be molded  and shaped according to his desires. Elizas eventual assertion of her own independence and rejection of Higgins’ control ,challenges traditional notions and highlights he importance of an individual autonomy.

Lastly, Pygmalion is a thought-provoking and entertaining play. It lets us get a picture into the social and cultural dynamics of the early 20th century Englands.It is a wonderful book due to Shaw’s clever writing and appealing characters, and its topics are still relevant to readers today.

Pygmalion

When we first started reading this play I was so annoyed, annoyed by Elisa, annoyed by Henry, I didn’t like any of the characters, they were all so annoying. I was like leave the poor girl alone, and at the same time saying girl stop picking fights, go sit down and shut up.
The play is an ironic inversion of the standard romantic plot. It gives us a boy who meets a girl and then uses her to try to win a bet, but this one ends up differently, and that’s what is confusing me still. Also, the fact that a dirty flower girl can, with a few months of classes, be trained up so she will convince even the most important people that she is one of them doesn’t say much for the inherent superiority of the upper classes.

I was expecting a love story all the play to be honest. I expected the typical stuff that Henry was going to change for her, and marry her, but no. I still think deep down that he was a bit in love with her, but just never expressed his feelings and preferred his pride over being sensible ( been there ), but that we will never know.

Reading the play got me a bit confused sometimes I could not understand very well some parts that I had to read them twice or three times to understand, but the movie helped me a lot. I liked the end where Eliza chose to be by herself because as much as I shipped her with Henry he just wasn’t treating her right, his pride took over and ruined it.

PR Doll´s House

What this play made me feel was indescribable but if I was forced to describe it I would describe it as emotionally. Firstly when Nora, Torvald Helmer’s wife, was behaving selfish and seemed like she only wanted Torvald for his money I knew I would not like her and Torvald I looked at him as he was a very loving man who cared so much about his wife. Reminder that those where only me making assumptions, which looking forward to the movie they aren’t as false.

The play continues and you start to figure out that Nora is incapable of many things just like understanding “scientific investigations”, I also got to the conclusion that she would do literally anything just for a little tiny amount of money, which is not correct because money is earned by hard work not acting immature towards your husband, is making her look like if she is her daughter instead of his wife.

But enough of the hating Nora, what I did really enjoy was probably Act 3, when she finally changes her attitude at the fullest and starts being the woman she should have been since the start of the play, what I definitely didn’t like was the intrigue in what they left us when she slams the door and they won’t say what happened after.

Personal Response to Tess of the d’Urbervilles

My opinions on Thomas Hardy’s classic story Tess of the d’Urbervilles can perhaps be best described as “complicated.” For various reasons, this was decidedly not a book I enjoyed reading. Nonetheless, I still understand the reason for its influence, respect the skill that went into writing it, and fully believe it deserves its status as a work of classic western literature.

Beginning with perhaps the most consistent factor that contributed to my irritation with this book, I found its writing style to be plodding at best and nearly infuriating at worst. I must make it clear that I understand the subjectivity of this critique; typical writing technique has doubtlessly changed dramatically in the many decades since the work’s initial publication, and elements that I find unenjoyable were likely widely liked and accepted. However, while reading I couldn’t suppress the urge to pull out a pen and cross out all the superfluous words or even rewrite entire sentences (this coming from a person whose writing is frequently acknowledged as being somewhat meandering and wordy). As much as I dislike using the word “boring” to describe any literature, classics in particular, Tess of the d’Urbervilles truly tested my commitment to that philosophy. Still, there were a few standout examples of scenes in which this style worked in the story’s advantage, mostly when the author was trying to convey a sense of dread, suspense, or anticipation prior to a major event.

Regarding the content of the book itself, my feelings become a bit more nuanced. I can’t deny that this story was genuinely able to induce a powerful emotional response, mostly manifesting in the sheer detestability of one Alec d’Urberville. Unfortunately, most of my other responses to the events of the book were likely not the intended ones. The second half of the book essentially boils down to a constant string of escalating misfortune for the titular character, eventually culminating in her death by hanging. This undoubtably had the intended effect of creating sympathy for Tess, but after a time this omnipresent misery became not just tedious, but comedic. After a time, this rendered Tess to a thoroughly flat character, one who seemingly only existed to be used as a plaything by the universe itself.

I didn’t enjoy Tess of the d’Urbervilles, but I simultaneously find myself harboring a begrudging sense of respect for it. Despite the tedium of the writing style and narrative, the story is undoubtably successful at doing what it tries to do. Tess is a very sympathetic character, and in this case her relative blandness works in her advantage. My first instinct when writing a sympathetic character is to give them a likable personality or compelling goals so that, when bad things happen to that character, the audience feels bad for them. Tess goes about this somewhat backwards. We don’t feel bad because misfortune befalls a person we like, we feel bad because misfortune befalls someone who so clearly deserved none of it. Whether that character is likable or not is largely irrelevant, and that appears to be the point. Tess doesn’t have to be Tess, she could be any woman made to suffer horribly for events beyond her control, and a complex endearing personality would only detract from that core idea. This is the story’s strongest element, and this is why it’s remembered all these decades later. Tess of the d’Urbervilles is not a classic because of the way it’s written or the strength of its protagonist, it’s a classic because of the ideas it presents. In the case of a story like this, I say with no small hint of vexation, that’s what really counts.

Tess of the D’urbervilles Personal Response

After reading the book, Tess of the D’urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, I was impress how he brings many feelings and emotions through the story. At first, I was so overwhelmed about the story as it projects the sad experiences that still exists in society towards women. I was scared to continue reading because true stories from young women being abused are heard everyday. It is not only the story that Hardy wrote but the way he writes to bring the story to life that makes an impact on readers.

I really like how Hardy makes the character of Tess. Most stories like this have characters that are superficial and a happy ending. However, Hardy goes deeper into characterization, we can relate his story as a tragedy and raises the question is Tess a tragic hero? Looking at characterization, the author conveys strong feelings through the characters, specially Tess, the main character. The author conveys guilt by the way Tess speaks and thinks. She is always thinking that she does wrong and doesn’t deserve good things in her life. By the way her parents, Angel and Alec talk to Tess it made me think about the responsibilities in the role of a wife, husband and the role of men and women in general. It made think that society assumes certain responsibilities just because of gender. Tess is the oldest of her siblings and a girl, she grows with the idea that she is responsible for providing to her family. In addition, Alec and Angel express the stereotype of a perfect wife. What is a perfect wife? Does society chose the image of a perfect wife? Why does the idea that the women has to take full responsibility keep passing from generation to generation? On the other hand, the circumstances of Tess’ life made me raise the question of what is to forgive? Angel and Tess confess their flaws, and Tess ends up marrying the man that raped her, Alec. Forgiveness can be seen in different points of views but in this story is going too far.

What I find the most impressive is that Hardy does a very good job expressing feelings of a young woman through Tess. I felt Tess like a real human that suffers, have hard times and it is not just a fairy tail love story with a villain. It made me identify with Tess in some things, the punishment and stereotypes of society just because experiencing something that a young woman can’t understand. This novel was published 1891 and it makes me think that there are still similar societal problems. Have women stereotypes changed over the time?

Tess of the d’Urbervilles PR

Tess of the d’Urbervilles is a fascinating piece of literature. Breaking it down to its characters and plot it is a wild ride leaving the reader with many open-ended questions. This is not only in its conclusion but throughout the whole book. Mr. MacKnight says, ‘Good books don’t give answers they raise questions’, however, I believe Hardy took that too literally. Examples include Aleck disappearing forever and then finally reappearing in the end; what was he doing? The thoughts of the characters are never really shown and when they are they aren’t very explored. There are many more examples throughout the book. My way of understanding and rationalizing this way of writing instead of passing it off as a poorly written text is that as we discussed life was far slower in Hardy’s time. Readers not only got the story in installments but also had nothing else to do meaning they could basically write the story for themselves leading to more interaction with the story as a whole. Whether this is the case or not I believe that the writing in Tess is ‘outdated’. Instead of feeling more engaged with the questions and lead-offs in the book I felt ‘out of the know’ leading me to misunderstand many parts of the book because I only had a shallow engagement. While the story was one of great excitement, I found the writing to be so dull (for lack of a more polite word) it made me bored.

A side note to this paragraph after watching the movie is there is somewhat of a noticeable change but not always. Some scenes are as slow and boring as the book, my favourite example being when they show Angel walking all the way across the water 4 times to carry each girl across while the others wait and watch. This made me really bored and really reflected how I felt reading the book. An example where the movie was a bit quicker leading to a more enjoyable experience was how the tragic events of Tess happened in such rapid succession it was almost comical. Angel leaving, Tess gets harassed by a weird guy who she finds out she works for, she prays at a cursed site, her boots get ‘stolen’. This is shown in the book over a long enough period of time that the reader begins to forget about the event and they don’t stack on top of each other creating a, in my opinion, better effect. The entirety of these last two paragraphs could be a product of my new-age over-stimulation, but even if that is the case it only makes Tess more outdated.

Although I actually enjoyed Tess despite what my personal response sounds like there is another ‘issue’ I encountered. My upbringing is a pretty standard high-middle-class globalized life, I don’t have extensive knowledge or ties to Christianity or other concepts of the time. This made much of the symbolism alien to me and without the Google or Mr. MacKnight, I wouldn’t get half of what is referenced in the book. The setting was also very Alien to me but the lack of context did nothing to help. The very fact that it was necessary for Mr. MacKnight to add on things of context just so we wouldn’t be lost supports my points. In other texts we read even though the scene is foreign to me I still feel closer to it because of the context provided by the author. Books like Candide set each scene perfectly helping me to understand the book, while a book like A Doll’s House doesn’t have much to do with its setting so only what is needed is given. Tess has a mix of relying on the setting, yet not providing context. This problem again ties back to the outdatedness which I believe is undeniable.

One thing I found amusing more than anything was the lack of a “message”. I find this funny because readers almost always search for a message or some other form of philosophical construct hidden in the text. With Tess things kind of just happen. This lack of apparent message creates an ironic amount of smaller messages that can be picked out by readers. Marriage scandals, love versus marriage, men and women, and the list goes on. I know that books “don’t have messages”, but finding them in Tess is far too easy for a book that relies on the reader to write half the story.

I didn’t proof read this 🙂

Tess of the d’Uurbervilles PR

I enjoyed reading Tess of the d’Urbervilles more than most of the works we covered as a class. This was especially surprising because I was burnt out due to the IAs and exams that come with the IB program.

I developed a connection with the main character Tess and thought that throughout the novel she was treated unfairly and unjustly. I believe that she always had pent-up emotions from being oppressed throughout the whole story. Luckily I have never had similar experiences but I felt sympathetic for her. It pains me to know that she had to put up and deal with the consequences of so much that is not her fault, such as the horse dying, and birthing a child, which was a result of sexual assault. Even though it is not her fault, Angel and society make it her fault and treat her as a woman who is not accepted by society. The unfair experiences remind me of one of Voltaire’s works, Candide. Candide, the main character in the story, is often exposed to danger that he does not deserve. He tries his best to keep his mentality and to be optimistic, like how Tess tries to stay her innocent and loyal self.

Tess does not deserve to be put into unjust situations. It was quite infuriating how it was said to be her fault that she was raped not Alec’s fault. It even ruins her relationship with Angel and he says that she is not the same Tess that he loves. This part of the novel shows how women were unfairly oppressed at the time. It never seems to be the man’s fault. I felt deeply sorry for Tess when reading this novel because of the unjust events that she experiences. Luckily Tess is not a real person and the novel is not based on a true story. She is just a character that Hardy uses to convey his message about gender roles in late Victorian society. I feel terrible that women were so greatly oppressed and treated unfairly but Hardy does an excellent job of conveying his message to the reader.

Tess Of the D’ubervilles PR

Tess of the D’urbervilles by Thomas Hardy is a novel that represented abusive societal, and religious morals, how they can destruct an individual in society and the prevalence of this globally today. It was always What would society say and how would they react. This ideology about caring about what others would say still exists today in many countries where women and men are being oppressed and stuck in marriages and situations that cause them unhappiness but yet they do nothing, and take no action simply because of what society says is right and wrong.  At times I felt that I was confused with Tess’s emotions and her actions and at other moments such as when she felt guilt and shame I felt as if I related really well with her and could see where she was coming from. Reading this novel I reflected upon how faith affects what happiness means. Why is it that when Tess was raped and harassed she was the impure woman who was no longer a “real woman” in society? How come these so-called religious people use religion as a way to oppress and abuse others when in reality religion is from God and is meant to bring peace and sovereignty to people’s lives? Why is that that people feel it is their place to assume God’s understanding of a situation rather than making assumptions and destroying life, and someone’s happiness? Reading this novel made me relief about society and how negatively religion is portrayed because of how Victorian society sees her.

 Within the novel, Angel is the character Tess seems to like the most and he is referenced a lot, and she feels as if she could open up about her past. “He looked upon her as a species of impostor; a guilty woman in the guise of an innocent one. Terror was upon her white face as she saw it; her cheek was flaccid, and her mouth had almost the aspect of a round little hole.”

This was the reaction of Angel, the man she loved and married who represented the oppressive close-minded society that views Tess as “impure”. We see through this passage even her appearance begins to change through his perspective and he is very stern about his decision to leave the girl he married based on a traumatic event that happened to her. 

Through Hardy’s use of scriptural symbolism, Tess’s shame at being a woman is made more obvious throughout the novel. Like Tess, I am a woman of high morals and I cannot imagine being in a society where my every move was watched and judged so I can understand where her misery stems from. I know I had done something against my own religion, and I felt that connection with her in that sense. makes me feel when I do something against my religion and I felt like I could connect with her in that way. There are numerous references within the novel where Tess attempts to set up her friends with Angel, the man whom she loves dearly simply because she does not believe she deserves to be happy. Even though we know that Tess did love Angel dearly we see how quick she is to give up any happiness she has in her life and be miserable. 

In terms of Tess’s situation, she was always the person at fault for her rape. Society caused her sufferance and made me think globally about this problem still existing in many countries where women get raped, labelled as impure, and in some cases, must marry their rapist without choice. From the perspective of any religion whether Islam or Christianity rape is wrong, yet society and people dismiss this in many situations and label women as impure or immodest. I believe this is not a representation of religion in the correct manner and if we truly believe in all aspects of the region it should be understood that God is aware of all situations and we are not to judge if we do not know about a particular citation claiming someone else’s “impurity” based on personal judgment. Yet I find it VERY interesting how religious people focus on only certain aspects of religion targeting and hurting others while forgetting about the rest of the important morals and teaching within the Bible in this case. 

Being pure and being a virgin in my own religion is required however in these types of situations the girl is not to blame and I noticed how Hardy showed the effects of religious morals and beliefs through the Sufferance of Tess dealing with this situation and traumatic event and how it affects every aspect and decision in her life because of constant shame and guilt. Constant guilt that she is not a good person. Constant guilt that she is not enough. Constant guilt about her loved ones around her, and believing that she really does not deserve to have any happiness the world has. Through the inclusion of the Victoria society and Christianity being the dominant religion present we see how these factors actually hurt and oppress Tess in a negative way making her feel worthless and hopeless in life.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles personal response

Reading the novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles, written by Thomas Hardy, I came to realize that it fits Mr. Macknight’s idea of good literature. To quote him, “Great literature does not send messages! It raises questions and explores possibilities” (MacKnight, 2018). Reading this novel I was consistently confused by the writing itself and developed new skills such as reading slowly and carefully. This led me to read deeper into the text, similarly exploring possibilities. Unlike much literature which uses flowery writing, Hardy uses his words and phrases to create greater imagery for the reader as well as enhance his metaphors. When I began to slow-read, I was able to better understand the text, however, time-consuming as it was, it led me to a greater appreciation of Hardy’s complex writing. Specifically, his metaphors were rich and full, sometimes filled with lightly tied-together ideas and other times with more obvious conclusions. This combination of simple and clandestine metaphors guided the reader into their own world of interpretation, creating further questions. 

During the time the novel was published it challenged the roles of Victorian England, although continuing to provoke gender norms for men and women alike in many places around the world. The novel reminded me of a man’s role in relationships when comparing Alec to Angel. Both have extreme flaws, they fight over the women they love in completely opposite ways. In Alec’s case, he would do anything for Tess and love her unconditionally, however, he is blind to the idea of consent, which is contrary to his willingness to help Tess. Angel loves Tess and is framed in many chapters as the perfect man who challenges society’s conventions. Of course, we as readers come to realize that this is all a facade and he is very much stuck in his imaginary perfect Tess. For me, this anger which was provoked by Angel’s willingness to leave Tess was created by my recognition of the unfairness within their relationship. This same reaction occurred with Alec and Tess, only slightly disparately. 

Tess of the d’Urbervilles did not only serve to raise questions. When I was immersed in writing, I enjoyed it. I felt myself imagining the world envisioned by Hardy, placing myself within it. At times the language became too complex and confused me, forcing me to interpret or even look up the word. Despite this novel’s time-consuming nature, it was difficult for me to fully enjoy the writing when given deadlines. For one with a great deal of time, this novel might have been a great read aside from its gut-wrenching plot. 

Tess of the D’Urbervilles PR

 

If I’m being completely honest, I don’t know how I feel about Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Being utterly obvious in the title, everything revolves around the main character Tess and when one doesn’t like the main character, this makes it a lot harder to enjoy the novel itself. I wouldn’t say I don’t like Tess, I just personally cannot relate to her, and her actions and behavioral traits make me question her understanding of gender differentiation. Tess to me is pure self-blame. Someone that always seeks approval from others, doesn’t fully believe in an individual itself, always blames oneself for any mistake made, and never seems to agree with what fate has set in place for them. Along these lines, it becomes rather difficult to understand what the purpose of her life is and what Thomas Hardy’s intentions for her character were.

First of all, I absolutely despise Tess’s choice to do everything in her power to make sure Angel will forgive her. Apart from the fact that this attempt fails anyways, I really question her willingness to literally give up herself as a woman, only to seek approval from a male person. Why would a woman, so calmingly poetic and in line with nature and the surrounding environment, fall victim to men’s ideals and subject herself voluntarily as a slave? This idea makes me mad and I would have loved to see a heroic figure that, although admitting a mistake, doesn’t lose all sense of respect.

“No. I shan’t do anything, unless you order me to. And if you go away from me I shall not follow ‘ee; and if you never speak to me any more I shall not ask why, unless you tell me I may.” (p.249)

Her subjection to men not only makes herself look bad, but in the times this novel was published, makes her a bad role model. Hardy’s portrayal of Tess to me is no longer a simplistic woman headlining one of the most influential stories of her time, but becomes a figure people should normally look up to and not fall victim to the bad choices she is making, themselves. In my opinion, Tess is fully undermining the power and freedom women should have, and supporting the idea of holding back on what society could offer and instead subjecting to what men suggest society should offer to women.

Also, I get the feeling that Tess is solely trying to live up to society’s expectations. She is not focused on what is good for her, but rather makes choices based on what she believes others will want to see from her. This social desirability effect ultimately only makes her situations worse.

“I fear that what you think of me now may not last — I do not wish to outlive your present feeling for me. I would rather not. I would rather be dead and buried when the time comes for you to despise me, so that it may never be known to me that you despised me.” (p.413)

Her naiveté is another aspect which bothers me. It’s like she either doesn’t believe, or doesn’t want to believe, that everything she has done “wrong” was due to men. Everything that happened to her which ruined her life in a negative way, was due to men. Everything she lost and every mentally exhausting stage she had to go through (even though through her own exaggeration made it worse), was due to men. Men have always been the recurring pattern at the root of her problems, but STILL she blames it all on herself and her being a woman.

Lastly, I have to add that all the things I have said so far seem pretty direct but it was hard for me to understand this, as Tess is so relatable at first. The distance only comes with time. She seems like the most relatable person, loving and caring for her family, overcoming fears, (even if in unusual circumstances such as the child’s birth), maybe even making her seem brave. But the carelessness ultimately ruins it. As a woman myself, I personally feel offended – these signs of weakness may give false presumptions to men to continue this kind of powering, in charge character with zero freedom to women’s rights and will never end the yet so forceful cycle. Even though society has changed nowadays, readers back in the day saw this as a normality. I believe it is Hardy’s fault for portraying Tess as the easily subjective person that she is and not respecting what emotions this can provoke in readers.

Tess of the d’Uberville Personal Response

Through the books that we have read as a class, the theme about the role of women is continuously examined with works such as “A Doll’s House”, “Pygmalion”, “Antigone”, “The Color Purple”, etc. Though all of them are about the exploitation of women, each of them takes a unique approach in contributing towards this conversation. For example, Nora Helmer’s story in “A Doll’s House” focuses on personhood and what it means to be a human, beyond of being a woman. Whereas, Celie in “The Color Purple”, brings a stronger emphasis on the empowerment of a woman themselves, as well as their freedom of expressing love toward others. Hardy’s voice towards the rights of women, however, seems to put a highlight on the vulnerability of women, instead. This discussion is shown through his construction of relationships between his characters. Most evidently, Tess and Alec, as well as Tess and Angel.

Perhaps what have negatively influenced Tess the most throughout this novel is her relationship with Alec. Hardy presents this effect not entirely during the process that the relationship takes place, but rather until the later stages between her and Angel. This in turns, makes consequences stand out more. There are some key events that Hardy intergrates well into their relationship that shows the nature of these consequences later on: Alec toying around with Tess during their trip on the cart which forces Tess to walk on her own because she can not endure his prideful attitude. On another instance, Alec sexually assaulting Tess while she was asleep, not knowing anything. As she is pregnant and having to abandon her own baby, Hardy is only showing readers the surface level of Alec’s influence throughout the plot as a whole, as it is only the start of Tess downfall.

Later on as Tess encounters Angel, it is a sharp twist of events, readers are able to really feel the love between them. Angel’s interaction with Tess feels real, concrete and sweet. Even with his family in the way, Angel still does whatever he can to stay with her. It shows his commitment to his love, making him shine as a character. Even more so, his love for Tess develops slowly but surely and through his act such as offering tutor for Tess keeps on reminding readers of how kind he is. However, Angel gives his offer of marriage to Tess, Tess continuously decline as she believes she is not that great of a person, not until she eventually surrenders to marry him. This snippet between these two perhaps best show Tess’s weak spot, that she has her own dignity to preserve. Her sense of self as a normal woman, no more no less, is violated by Alec. Although later on their relationship goes along well, Tess continues to carry her shame about her sins until Angel eventually finds out and their relationship falls apart. This then, leads to Angel’s departure for Brazil and Tess having to tend for her own needs.

Later on, as Angel returns for Tess, still holding his love and only to find out that Alec takes Tess away from Angel, leaving him unable to do anything. It paints a picture of how men such as Alec are willing to do anything to attain what they believe is theirs. The build up furthers to paint a clearer picture of the patriarchal, controlling situation that Tess is caught upon. Even after seemingly to maybe share a better future with Angel, she can not outrun her sins, which has lead to her decision of ending herself and Angel marrying Liza Lu. In the end, the story loops itself back together seamlessly, potraying Tess as a normal country woman who has and knows her own worth but only to be binded by the kind of men like Alec. However, readers should not mistake Tess for being weak because she has an emotional baggage that she carries with her that she has yet to fully understand how to deal with. If Tess meet Angel earlier in the story, then perhaps everything could have been different. Tess can then live on as a person she is and better embrace her own womanhood.

 

Merchant of Venice: PR

The Merchant of Venice is a classic amongst famous plays written in past centuries, and it is one of Shakespeare’s finest works. The play takes place in a time of common prejudice in Europe, involving the maltreatment of Jews by Christians.  Judaism was regarded as a lowly religion and anyone who practiced it would be subjected to harsh treatment by Christians. Shakespeare adopts the realism of the current world and imbues it into his play, without making a side look better than the other (Christians or Jews). He stripped the characters of their societal stereotypes (e.g., Jews are bad), and reduced them to ordinary people under different circumstances, and his ability to do so created a worthy variety of characters for the world to be entertained by for centuries to come.  

A big figure in the play that stands out is Shylock, and he remains the best character in the play, not because I liked him the most but because of his realism. His actions and words were often interpreted by me as unjustified but as the plot progressed, I began to see and understand his side of things and understand how a big action can affect a character and the future actons taken by that character (the domino effect). His famous speech to the associates of Antonio sticks to me and I consider it the realest thing in this play. 

He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million,  

Laughed at my losses, mocked my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, 

And what is his reason, I am a Jew. 

Hath not a Jew hands. Hath not a Jew eyes, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? 

Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapon, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is.  

If you prick us, do we not bleed? 

If you tickle us, do we not laugh? 

If you poison us, do we not die?  

And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? 

If we are like you in the rest, then we will resemble you in that. 

 If a Jew wrong a Christian what is his humility, revenge. 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. 

This remains the best dialogue from any character in the play. The utter honesty and rage from Shylock reveal to us the true state of mind Shylock is in. It expresses the humility dealt upon him by Christians and his heavy desire for revenge.  

 

A Doll’s House PR – The uncomfortable reality of relating to Nora.

I’ve rewritten this introduction 3 times. None of them correctly reflect how I feel. In one iteration of this opener, I described my feelings as uncomfortable. In another, I said that I was angry. Why can’t I put my emotions for A Doll’s House into words? I slowly realized that the reason I was so confused and conflicted was that I saw myself in Nora. And even now I don’t like that concept. New questions were raised, about myself, about Nora, about my friends and family, and I didn’t want to think about them. I’d seen how A Doll’s House unfolded, and I had created this barrier between myself and the content. Here, I’ll try to explain how I feel, how I resemble Nora, and how that is a sickening thought.

Nora and I are both, non-confrontational people pleasers. Nora has a tendency to turn to pleasing Torvald instead of standing her ground, or being direct with what she wants, “Nora: If your little squirrel asked you ever so prettily, for just one thing–? / Helmer: Well? / Nora: Would you do it? / Helmer: I’d need to know what it is first, naturally. / Nora: Your squirrel would run about and do tricks, if you were nice and gave in to her” (p. 146). This act of entertainment comes from the fear of disapproval or essentially any negative action from Torvald. Knowing I act the same way; Nora has already weighed all the options, considered all the outcomes, and decided that this is the path that will cause the least amount of damage to Torvald, and raise her chances of him agreeing. And while Nora is not incredibly smart or educated, we know that she is knowledgeable enough to consider these kinds of things. In her conversation with Kristine, we find evidence for this,

“MRS LINDE: And you’ve not confided in your husband since?  NORA: No, for heaven’s sake, how can you think that? When he’s so strict on the issue of borrowing! And besides, just think how awkward and humiliating it would be for Torvald – with his manly self-esteem – to know he owed me something. It would upset the entire balance of our relationship; our beautiful, happy home would no longer be what it is.” (p. 122).

She worries so much about what other people will feel, and the consequences of their emotions that she forgets that their own emotions and needs are equally important to anyone else’s.

This connection with Nora was very disconcerting. I didn’t like it, I didn’t like seeing aspects I didn’t like about myself in a book. So I refused to acknowledge it, or even think about it. I read the book in a very distant manner. But now, writing this PR, I need to face some of the questions that A Doll’s House brought up for me through Nora. Do people only show me love because I act as they want? If I unmasked, showing my “true self” (whatever that is) would my friends and family still stay? Or would they act like Torvald, furious at the change? Unconditional love is what I hope the people that surround me feel, no requirements are needed from me for them to enjoy my presence. But I honestly don’t know. Nora said, “I realized that the man I’d lived here with for eight years was a stranger and that I’d borne him three children -” (p. 187). That other side of people, the unknown conditions of their love, is something you can never truly know. Nora thought she knew Torvald, was married to him for eight years and knew him before then too. Yet she never thought that he would treat her in such a way that would reveal his conditional love for her. To relate to Nora’s tendencies automatically opens up the terrifying thought that the same might happen to me.

a doll´s house

This story for me was so boring because it never caught my attention since the plot development was really slow and it was not interesting at all. To be honest, I did not read the book at all but I know what the story is about because of the movie we watched in class. I believe that Nora is the character with more development since she tells a story more personal about herself sharing her feelings making you be identified with her.

PR on A Doll’s House: Love? or the idea of love?

This play put me through different emotions while its events quickly escalated. At first, I regarded Nora, Torvald Helmer’s wife, as a spoiled, selfish, and stupid trophy wife who only wanted money and Torvald as the husband who adores and would do anything for his wife. These assumptions aren’t accurate but aren’t exactly false either.

I’ve been told that watching my reactions to shows, movies, plays, etc is as funny, or even funnier than what is being watched. While watching the play, I remember being completely repulsed at Nora’s squirrel-like actions when trying to get Torvald to do what she wants and rolling my eyes almost every time they interacted before Krogstad started blackmailing Nora.

I never trusted Kristine and it didn’t sit right with me how she just swooped in and took Krogstad’s job maybe even hours after he was fired and was even more suspicious of her rushing to try and persuade Krogstad to retract his letter and seemingly being the ‘hero’ of the play.

I was visibly shocked at Torvald’s major reason for firing Krogstad which was in fact really petty.

The audacity of Nora to openly flirt with Dr. Rank who she knows likes her and then be shocked when he professes his love left me flabbergasted.

And the slap? I was offended on her behalf. His actions afterward disgusted me.
I am almost very sure that each and more of these emotions were shown on my face and would have cracked up anyone watching me.

Yet, I still managed to understand some of the characters’ actions to a certain point. However petty the reason, Torvald had the power to put an end to the blatant disrespect Krogstad showed and so he did. I would too if someone who I went to school with years ago assumes that we are friends and automatically thinks he can be as familiar as he wants. The main problem is that we are not friends. This shines a light on the topic of boundaries and knowing one’s place in the workplace.

Nora and Torvald’s relationship was based on love. Unfortunately, the love wasn’t between them but of each’s idea of the other.

The slap, though unnecessary, served as a real eye-opener for Nora and let her stop and think because, in her mind, the man that she loved wouldn’t react or address her in such a manner. It was almost as if her rose-colored glasses fell away during their interaction and made her realize that she does not know the man she married.

This makes Kristine’s decision to try and stop Krogstad from his continuous blackmail of Nora and still stop him from going immediately retracting his letter very smart and shows her as probably the only sensible character in the whole play.

In conclusion, as I stated earlier, my assumptions were accurate at Nora being a trophy wife and Torvald ‘loving’ his wife but not entirely at her being selfish and stupid and Torvald willing to do anything for his wife. Therefore, this entire play is an emotional rollercoaster that I was not willing to go on but had to to get a good grade and it made me think about some things. The main question is Do you love someone or do you love the idea of what you want them to be?

A Doll’s House PR

Out of everything we have read in class this year, A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen is not my favourite. This is not to say it was a bad play, it wasn’t. If anything, I found it great but very unsettling. From the very first sentence on the first page to Nora slamming the door on Torvald in the last, I couldn’t shake the odd feeling of the play.   Both Torvald and Nora’s characters annoyed the everliving daylights out of me at the beginning of the play. Oh my gosh. I had never been so annoyed by two characters so much in my life. When we first started reading, I genuinely wanted nothing more than for them to stop talking. Every time Torvald started his sentence it felt like nails on a chalkboard. Plus, the casual objectification of his own wife definitely threw me off a bit. But I think it was more the way he spoke to her in general. He treated her as though she was a child, and was incapable of understanding things on her own. For example, when Nora is talking to Dr. Rank about his job and Torvald says

“I say, my little Nora talking about scientific investigations!”

And again when he says

“Now my little skylark is talking as though it were a person.” (pg.172)

Once again implying that Nora is something to be owned and possessed and that she is incapable of understanding complicated topics, such as a “scientific investigation”. Speaking of, Nora’s character was not much better than Torvald’s at first. When we read the first scene in the play she just irked me so much. I didn’t like the way she spoke or the way she acted so immature. Like she would do anything for just the smallest amounts of money. I believe that part of why Torvald treats her as a child is because she enables it. She always searches for his approval, and never stands up for herself throughout their marriage (at least not until the very end). This makes Torvald look as more of a father figure towards Nora, rather than a husband. The dynamic between them was more similar to that of a father and child.

The one thing I did truly enjoy in this play was Act 3. When Nora finally wakes up from the almost trance-like state she has been in for the past 8 years of her life, and she finally leaves Torvald. Trust me when I say I had been waiting for this moment since Act 1. The complete 180 flip of Nora’s character was something I didn’t really expect, but enjoyed a lot. I think it was the perfect ending to the play as it sort of leaves us with the question “What happens after Nora slams the door?” There have been many adaptations that all give a different answer, but I like the idea of the ending being left up to one’s imagination. While it was not my favourite thing we have read thus far. Overall I would say I pretty thoroughly enjoyed this play, it left me with some very mixed emotions and it was definitely something new for me.

A Dolls House PR

“A Doll’s House” written by Henrik Ibsen is a play that raises questions about what a healthy relationship looks like. When analyzing Torvald’s and Nora relationship it resembles the relationship of a father and child because of the pet names, controlling behaviour, and comparison between fathers and husbands. I am disgusted by the relationship between Nora and Torvald but it also raises many questions. 

Torvald treats Nora like a child and Nora’s actions subside to Torvald’s view of her. Torvald’s pet names for Nora like “sky lark” and “little squirrel” are very childish. They make Nora out to be so fragile and innocent.  They prove that he sees her like a child that is incapable.

“My spending-bird is sweet but it uses up an awful lot of money. It’s incredible how expensive it is for a man to keep a spending-bird” (p.112).

In this particular example Torvald is referring to Nora as something that he owns and is responsible for. In the movie one scene that really stuck out to me was when Nora wants to convince Torvald for a favour she uses the pet names to her advantage.

“Your squirrel would run about and do tricks if you were nice and gave in to her” (p.146)

  Nora states while acting like a squirrel. Similar to how a child will guilt their parents into buying them ice cream. The pet names and Nora acting like animals stuck out to me because I was disgusted by it. 

The second thing that I did not like about the relationship between Nora and Torvald was Torvald’s controlling behaviour and consequently Nora’s need for Torvald’s approval. The main example of this is that he does not allow Nora to eat macarons because he does not want her to ruin her teeth. When he catches her eating macarons her response is

“it would never occur to me to go against you” (p.113).

Another example is when Nora says

“ I’ll think of something that will charm him, that’ll capture his approval” (p.119).

It revolts me that Torvald treats and sees Nora as a child. What’s worse is that she not only does not stop him from controlling her but gives into his ways by seeking his approval. 

Lastly the most convincing piece of evidence that Nora and Torvald’s relationship is like a father and child is that Nora constantly makes comparisons between Torvald and her own father.  When Nora comes to the conclusion to leave Torvald she says

“I’ve been greatly wronged Torvald. First by daddy and then by you”(p.182).

This comparison of Nora’s at the end of the play confirms that their marriage was never a true marriage. It was a relationship between a controlling father and an innocent child. I did not enjoy watching or reading this book because their relationship is sickening. However, this play does raise questions such as what does a healthy marriage look like?  

 

PR to A Doll’s House play – Kristina

A Doll’s House is a thought-provoking play.

The beginning was like the life of an ideal family for many people. A family of five – a loving father, a caring mother and three children, and a grandmother helping them. They lived in abundance in a large house, did not quarrel and supported each other.

But then the play began to touch on the themes of gender roles, power dynamics and societal expectations. Throughout the play, Nora defies the gender norms of her time and asserts her independence, while showing intense love for her husband, for whom she has gone into debt, although she knew that her husband did not approve of this.

A Doll’s House PR

As I began reading A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, I really disliked it. it wasn’t the time or place of the play that bothered me nor was it the way it was written. I specifically hated the characters. Torvald felt like a pushover, he pleased Nora and just sat in his study otherwise. Krogstad was a stereotypical antagonist to a banker, and every time Nora spoke I felt like skipping past it. I saw her as a naïve brat who would do your every bidding if you taunted her with a 50 dollar bill. The video made this even more excruciating because her voice was much too fitting of a songbird. But as I flipped past the last page of the book and had time to reflect, I realized I had in fact enjoyed it. So, I asked myself, why? how in the world did I enjoy a book that I had just previously felt like walking through syrup when reading.

For starters I began to like Krogstad midway through the book because he was smart and realistic. Scenes with him involved felt much more purposeful and genuinely interesting. An example I can think of is his first negotiation with Nora. He lead her around getting answers he needed like details on Christine and her position with ease. This interaction where he agreed with my opinion on Nora and even calls it out, showing her the consequences of forging a letter, helped me sympathize with him. But at the same time this made me hate Nora more. The next step towards my switch of opinion towards the play was when Christine also noticed the naivety of the other characters.

Krogstad: “I shall demand my letters back” Christine: “No, no” Krogstad: “But of course…he’s not to read it.” Christine: “No…” Krogstad “…wasn’t that really why you set up this meeting with me?” Christine “Yes, in the initial panic, but a whole day has passed now, and the things I’ve witnessed in that time, here in this house, have been unbelievable. Helmer must know everything…”

It was as if the characters were all gradually waking up from a dream. In act 3 after Torvald yells, finds the paper saying he’s in the clear then apologizes. at this moment, Nora too wakes up.

“Yes but what you said (when yelling at her) was very right. I’m not up to the task. Theres another task that must be solved first. I must bring myself up … I must stand totally alone, if im to get an understanding of myself and of everything outside.”

Nora’s realization of her own naivety and determination to solve it is admirable. and the self understanding the book had with the problem I had was fascinating. It was a truly amazing plot twist that not only switched up the story but also my opinion on it. And in the end, only Helmer remains on my list of “characters I dislike in A Doll’s House” as he never woke up.

A Doll’s House PR

A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen is my favorite text we have read during the duration of this course. Despite its age, it remains relevant through its depiction of relations between men and women. Further, the roles of men and women in a marriage and society are explored throughout.

An example of the exploration of roles of men and women in a marriage can be found in the third act, on page 182,

“We have been married for eight years now. Doesn’t it occur to you that this is the first time, the two of us, you and I, man and wife, are talking seriously together?…He called me his doll-child, and he played with me, just as I played with my dolls.”(pg. 182)

Nora expresses her disgust towards her eight-year marriage because she realizes that her and her partner have never understood each other. This evokes a sense of newfound relief in Nora. She reflects on her life, which has been filled with mistreatment and objectification at the hands of men who were meant to love and protect her. The men in her life treated her as a “doll”. They did not respect her opinions, disregarded her feelings, and used her to fulfil their needs before her own. As a result, she feels used by those she trusted and loved. As a result, Nora realizes her need for independence of a life that was crafted for her,

“You’re crazed! You are not permitted! I forbid you!”

“It’ll be no use forbidding me anything from now on. I’ll take with me what belongs with me what belongs to me. From you I want nothing, either now or later”

Nora acknowledges that throughout her life, she possessed little control over each detail of her own life. As a result of this acknowledgment, Nora realizes to free herself from the dependent and fated life she lives is to abandon those who orchestrated it. Through rejection of her husband’s forbiddings, condemnations, and eventual pleas to provide her with aid, she shatters the barriers created by her father and husband that were designed to keep her dependent and complacent. Nora’s newfound independence and parting with all she has known is essential to her coming self-actualization. Her enthusiastic embrace of the unknown is the driving force in the escape from the oppressive life she has lead.

I have a great admiration for Nora. She recognized that those who were supposed to love her and risk life and limb to protect her planted barriers that inhibit her freedoms and will. I admire her for her courage to free herself from a conventional and safe, for the bold, free life which she comes to desire. In this day and age, the world needs more people who are willing to risk everything in order to access the freedoms they have been denied. Any action can be the first domino in one’s path to self-actualization. Personally, I cannot relate to Nora’s struggles, however, I hold a deep admiration and respect for the choice she made. In my own life, I can not only assist those who are stuck in unwilling, restrictive situations, but also apply the courage of Nora in my own life. By doing so, I can address the factors and situations that hold me back as a person, and confront the barriers that inhibit my own self-actualization.

PR A Doll’s House

The play  “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen was very interesting. This play made me feel several emotions: second-hand embarrassment, stress, anger, and proudness.

The things  that gave me second-hand embarrassment in the play were the relationship between Nora and Torvald, and how Nora acted at the beginning. Torvald treated her as a child and made her do tricks for him and Nora acted very immature and sometimes acted like a squirrel.

The play caused me stress several times. First, it was when Nora didn’t know that she had committed a crime and openly admitted that she did it without knowing the consequences it would could cause her. She was also so blindly in love with Torvald that she believed that if word got out about the thing Nora did, Torvald would jump in and save her, which was something that Torvald wasn’t going to do. The last thing that caused me stress was, when the letter Krogstad send was in Torvald’s letter box that only Torvald could open, and Nora was trying to distract him so that he doesn’t grab the letter while Mrs. Linde was trying to  convince Krogstad to claim his letter back.

The part of the play that caused me anger was when I read how Torvald yelled at Nora when he found out what happened. He told her mean names, was only worried about his reputations and how he was going to save himself and told her that she couldn’t be near their kids.

I felt proud when she finally realized how immature she acted during her marriage, that she deserved better, stood up for herself, had the courage to leave Torvald so that she could focus on herself and find out who she is.

 

PR-A Doll’s House

When I started reading the play I got extremely bored and lost all motivation I had to read it since I do not enjoy this kind of novels/stories. After several days without reading it I realized that it is an assignment I am supposed to complete so I re-started my reading.

It ended up being impossible for me to understand the play, find it entertaining and remember the important parts. Some nights I could not sleep because of insomnia so I started reading the play and next thing I know is that I had fallen asleep.  The one thing I found interesting was that during the first appearance of Krogstad, Nora became really nervous about him and that made my imagination fly thinking of how big of a situation it could occur because of his presence in the house, it turned out that all my expectations ended up in disappointment

A Doll House

A dollhouse is a very interesting novel, personally, I don’t like to read too much but this novel captures my attention, also I prefer by far reading plays to normal books.

At first, the novel started pretty calm, beautiful family, 3 children big home, and no money problems, the dream life for a lot of people, it just seemed like they had everything under control, and that made me feel as if I had everything under control and as if my life was going to turn out that way, married to a wealthy man that I loved and having lots of children and money.

As the play goes by I realized that it wasn’t true, she held a big secret but to be honest I didn’t think it was much of an issue I mean it was supposed to be that her husband loved her and he would take the blame for her, and that was what she didn’t want to. I don’t get why I would have made my husband take the blame every day and I would have done the same for him. at the end it was surprising that he didn’t, but I think she exaggerated a little by leaving him or wanting to kill herself, also everything was sorted out minutes after. if that would have happened to me I would just have continued with my life as if everything it’s fine, I got my husband, and my children and the main problem is solved. I would get into therapy to fix my feelings and that’s it. Her leaving was a bit dramatic for me ( considering that I am a dramatic person), but considering all this it was a great play bit boring but great.

PR Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare’s play, I find it sort of thought-provoking since it touched a very delicate topic, it did have some conflicting ideas that made me overthink some of the parts.
There was especially this part when Jewish where in favor of the law and Christians to mercy, it is logical that if all people sin, we must all have mercy so that it could go vice versa, or for example Jewish people once they know the rules and they pursue them, once they break them they accept the consequences.
What I found unfair for the play was how Christians use to keep Jews in the ghetto and then they would have to suffer consequences some random Christian created.
The play made me reflect on how society is nowadays and how often this case happens, people asking for loans thinking in the future they could pay, but at the end it doesn’t arrive, people don’t understand that when interest goes up the amount they own is invaluable and they could end up owing a debt for life, and in some cases the debt transfers to the next generation.

A Doll’s House Response

I did not connect with Doll’s House. Maybe I am not old enough, or the issues it talked about were not relevant to me, but I never unintentionally thought about its ideas. I had to force myself to think about what is the relationship between men and women and how to do love and money-related. It seems like a child’s book, like the problems is so simple to solve. If there was a little trust and some communication, the story would be over. To me, a doll’s house is a story about a flawed relationship falling apart. Maybe something went over my head. But I can’t think of how this applies to the modern day. The problem they encounter in this story is step one in a relationship make sure you can communicate and trust each other. The problems of this relationship may have been major problems in 1879 when this book was written, but not now. The issue of men and women in a relationship will always be an issue. It will never be solved ever. So I thought of this book as more of a history of Norway in 1879 and the social problem they had at that time. In that time, this was the problem with relationships, just as a book today will become the new idea of what is right with relationships.
Another idea I found was obvious “Do we inherit traits from our parents?”
As children, we first take our ideas from our parents, our favorite color, and our favorite food, and this is how we define ourselves as children. We then look for answers in different places, other people, and places and think this all is put together to produce a person who can walk and talk like any other but is different from what information they have seen and experienced, including the ideas and traits of our parents. As a small boy, I would imitate the groans of my grandfather when he would get up from his seat, as that is what I thought you did when you got up from your chair. We are the sum of the people we spend time with, especially when we are young, so our parents or gardians and the experiences we encounter. Maybe I am missing something major, but this book was not that gripping for me.

PR – A Dolls’s House

The play written by Henrik Ibsen was like an emotional roller coaster. The plot filled with patriarchy, misogyny and the sacrificial role of women truly made me stop and think about feminism today.

Before and even as I was reading the play, I was really confused about the name of it. I couldn’t grasp why its name is “A Doll’s House” and had different theories of why that might have been the choice. At first I thought this was going to be related to the children of Nora, since I thought about dolls being connected to childhood, but this theory quickly became inexact because the play focuses on Nora itself. A “childish” woman.
As I got closer to the end of the book, everything made sense. I think the name choice was brilliant, we really get the sense of it when we get to the lines onp182

“When I was at home with Daddy, he told me all his opinions..He called me his doll-child, and he played with me..” “..I then went from daddy’s hand over into yours.”

As we watched the movie, I remarked how the actress barely said a word during the scene when Torvald finds out about the whole situation. The absence of words and emotions made a great impact because we are left with our own thoughts at this moment, and oh I felt so disappointed. We can only imagine how Nora felt in the moment, heartbroken? Crushed? Miserable? This reaction of Helmer wasn’t unexpected, but in the movie when Torvald slaps his wife, that was what left me in utter shock. I mean, the physical abuse of that time is not the shocker, it is rather the fact that it got down to it.

Needless to say, I was very intrigued when the scene of Nora and Torvald sitting down to have a “serious conversation, first time in 8 years of their marriage” came along. After all of this dreadful and hopeless amount of pages of misogyny, we are finally being rewarded with a grand finale.
Nora demands Torvald to sit down and not interrupt her as she speaks; shocked at her sudden loss of fear, this is probably the strongest moment in the whole play. I was practically cheering when she stated that she will leave and educate herself, and that she wants nothing from Torvald, making him take his wedding ring off too. That she will only take the things she owns, even though she owns very little, this shows how independent she is and will not tolerate any control over her any longer.

I did not enjoy this play as much as The Merchant of Venice despite the fact that this pay has an actual happy ending. Everything is resolved. Nora leaves her abusive husband and I believe will definitely have a bright future; as for comparison, the play by Shakespeare leaves us with so many questions left for us to decide on what is true to us. Cannot say if I like the author or not at this point, I will need to read a few more books by Henrik Ibsen in order to have a formed opinion of his oeuvre.

A Doll’s House PR

The plays we read this year – Oedipus, Antigone, and the Merchant of Venice are all plays that raise questions about society. Before reading the play, A Doll’s House, I was confused by the name of the play. I had completely no idea what the play is about, however, because of the confusing name of the play, it intrigued me more than the other plays did.

A Doll’s House, a thought-provoking play written by Henrik Ibsen, precisely describes the role of women in society. In the play, Nora, the housewife, always listens to her husband, Torvald. She does everything she could do to make her husband cheerful. She listens and obeys all his commands. This demonstrates the “expected trait” of women at the time of the play. Nora sacrifices herself for Torvald by borrowing money from Krogstad for Torvald for travelling to Italy to cure his sickness. She takes responsibility for everything because she uses to love him. On the contrary, Torvald thinks that everything Nora does is inevitable, and he is not grateful for that. He even prioritizes his reputation before Nora’s life. In Act III, which is the climax of the play, when Torvald finds out Nora lies to him and borrows money from Krogstad, his first reaction is to blame her for doing that and worrying about his reputation instead of asking Nora and try to understand the situation. His attitude changes significantly after Krogstad returns the IOU contract. “…Shame, shame!” (act III), he thinks what Nora does is a shame, despite the reason that action is to save Torvald’s life, to cure his sickness. From this scene, we can see the sacrificial role of women. Women are like a doll, a toy in play, when their owner is happy, it is treated nicely and respectfully; when their owner is in a bad mood, it is treated like a punching bag, who bears all his temper. 

One of the themes that derive from A Doll’s House is the influence of being honest with each other in a relationship. The conflicts in the play are all aroused by deception. Yet, the truth is always going to reveal itself. In Nora and Torvald’s relationship, deceit is a dominant part of it. Nora lies to Torvald and when the truth reveals, everything is irreversible. It reminds me to stay honest in every kind of relationship. No matter if it is romantic, family, or friends, being truthful to each other is essential. 

Compare to OedipusAntigone, and the Merchant of Venice, which are the plays we read this year, A Doll’s House is the most straightforward, and the easiest to understand. The language in the play is informal with a simple and realistic plot. It is one of my favourite literature out of everything we read this year.