This year English class has been a lot of fun and has taught me so much. From this year I think what I will remember most is the importance of asking questions and realizing that the best literature raises the most questions. I think what will stick with me most from this year is the information on analyzing a piece of literature and everything that you should pay attention to when reading, watching, or listening to a piece of literature.
After reading The Awakening by Kate Chopin, I was left to wonder about many things, was Edna a good mother, was Edna a good wife, did Edna truly act like a child and many more. The main one I kept thinking about was, was Edna a good mother to Etienne and Raoul? Throughout the book in our class discussions there was a lot of back and forth about this question, she seems like she only cares for herself and neglects them, or she seems like she cares a lot about them but wants them to grow up and be their own person.
I believe that Edna was a good mother, multiple times in the book she is seen taking care of her kids and doing things to help them. An example of this is when Edna comes home and Etienne hasn’t been able to sleep or calm down so she picks him up and consoles him till he is sleeping, another example is when her kids are playing in the sun and she moves them to the shade and gets upset with the maid for letting them in the sun for so long. At the end of the book when she is trying to make all of her final decisions she kept repeating to herself “To-day it is Arobin; to-morrow it will be someone else, it makes no difference to me, it doesn’t matter about Leonce Pontellier—but Raoul and Etienne!” (p.136). I don’t think that Edna didn’t want her kids or marriage, she didn’t want the sexist norms or that life, she did love and care for her children but she also wanted her own freedom and to be able to live her own life how she wanted.
In conclusion, I do believe that Edna is a good mother and always had been, she took care of both of her kids all the time she just wasn’t coddling towards them, she was letting them be independent because she wanted her own independent life. She always thought about them and how they would feel, she just had to think about herself too.
After reading and watching the movie Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw I found myself asking a lot of questions about the classism and morality of each of the characters.
I felt like this book works really well at showing how classism was so prevalent at this time and how it still is now. In the book, Higgins immediately treats Eliza like she is worth less than him and is not even worth his time because she is poor and living on the street. As the book carries on and Higgins and Pickering do Eliza’s makeover they still both treat Eliza like she doesn’t matter to them and like they are too good for her, even though they made her look like a lady they still treat her as if she is poor and just their object. Even today most people who are comfortable in life and have money look down on poor people as if they aren’t human and don’t matter as much just because they can’t afford a house, food, or anything else. Higgins also doesn’t have great morality, this is shown with how rude he is when he speaks to Eliza, his mothers guests, and almost everyone else, he treats Eliza like an object and even says she has no feelings. Although Higgins acted this way I do believe that Eliza should have left differently and not have left Higgins and Pickering without even a thank you for everything they did for her.
Overall this is a very good book and movie that allows for a lot more in-depth thoughts about everything going on in the world.
Throughout the play A Doll’s House by Henrick Ibsen, Ibsen makes it very clear what the role of both Torvald and Nora is. This also shows the gender roles that there were in that time. Ibsen also shows two very different relationships that are a result of having little communication versus a lot of communication.
Nora and Torvald’s relationship is the first relationship we are introduced to and their relationship is very focused on how they look to other people, their reputation. Torvald always wants them to seem like the perfect couple, mostly for his own reputation, this results in his love towards Nora not being very genuine all of the time. Nora always just listens to Torvald no matter what and never voices that she isn’t happy or doesn’t like what’s going on, until the very end when she really reveals everything and ends up leaving. Nora says that they have not had one serious conversation in their eight years of marriage but, that isn’t only Torvalds fault, she could have started a conversation earlier so they could actually work through it and their children could have both of their parents for their whole childhood. Through this relationship Ibsen shows us that there is no communication and no listening to each other in this relationship and how much that affects everything. The second relationship in this play is between Kristine and Krogstad, right away they start to talk about their relationship and why it ended, they figured out right away what each of them wanted and listened to each other so that they could make it work. This shows good communication and good listening skills.
Overall this was a very good play that really makes you think about communication and how important it is in a relationship.
The part of The Odyssey I enjoyed the most was in Book 8 when Odysseus participated in the series of athletic contests. I really enjoyed this part because it was very entertaining and interesting to me to learn about the “first Olympics”. I also enjoyed it because the games are quite similar to the games we play now for the Olympics as well, like boxing, wrestling, racing, and the throwing of the discus. Another part of it that I liked was when Odysseus was able to prove Broadsea and the other Phaeacians by easily winning the discus and beating them all. Book 8 was the best book in The Odyssey overall in my opinion.
The part of The Odyssey I enjoyed the least was book 1 when everything was starting, it was kind of slow and boring in my opinion. I also could not understand everything that was being said and what was happening because I did not know the gods names or what they did, who they were, etc. As the poem went on it did get easier to understand who everyone was, and understanding the words everyone used.
I was most surprised by the part in The Odyssey when Odysseus got angry and acted irrational towards Cyclops Polyphemus the son of Poseidon. Odysseus is commonly known as a calm man who is able to think on the spot and make the best decisions but, after blinding Polyphemus as they are sailing away he yells at him, stating his name and angering Poseidon even more. This was quite surprising as it was so out of character for Odysseus, after discussing this in class it was clear that he was this upset because he had angered his own crew and some of them had been killed because of his own mistake. He had blamed himself for everything that happened on that island.
I think that in Antigone Creon is the tragic hero of the story. I believe this because a tragic hero is someone who has heroic characteristics but their life still ends with a tragedy, which is exactly what happened to Creon. Throughout the whole play Creon was so sure that he was always right but after he realizes what he had done was wrong, he tries to go out and fix it all and solve his problems, being heroic, but he still ends up losing his son and his wife to suicide which he blames himself for, tragedy. Although it could be argued that Antigone was also a tragic hero and the protagonist in the story. This is because all Antigone wants is for her own brother, Polyneices, to have a proper burial like her other brother, Etocles. Rather than just being left out in the open to rot and be eaten away by birds, she wants to honey his death and honey the gods but, this means dishonouring Thebes and Creon. Although she tries to do this she gets caught and ends up being sent to a tomb to die off on her own. This leads to her killing herself and then her soon to be husband Haemon killing himself. I think that Creon is the more obvious tragic hero in this story but, I also think that Antigone is a tragic hero as well.
This play’s main focus is Oedipus and how his life has played out, and how he is a puppet to the gods. Although Oedipus does some horrible things I can still sympathize for him, he never asked for his life to be a prophecy and never had any way to fix it for himself. He tries his best to fix this throughout the play, this is evident when he runs away from his adopted father and mother when he first learns about the prophecy, unfortunately, this is what led him to kill his father, solving the riddle, marrying his mother, and becoming king. Although he was born into this prophecy he still could have tried harder to avoid it, all he had to do was not kill anyone and not marry a woman who is old enough to be his mother and he then did both of those things very quickly. Oedipus was also very ignorant to the whole situation, he refused to see it for a while like when the blind man came and told him everything that had happened and instead of being calm and trying to understand the situation he lashed out at the man and Creon and even accused Creon of trying to take his place as king of Thebes. I feel like Oedipus has some issues controlling his temper, he would get angry very quickly and act out without thinking it through first. He was very metaphorically blind during almost the whole play, and by the end of it, he had physically blinded himself as his own consequence.
I think that friendships between the opposite sexes should be more normalized. During pop culture today even there is barely any demonstration of opposite-sex friendships. People still think that because you are of the opposite gender you must be attracted to that person whether you are actually attracted to that gender or not. I believe that platonic relationships between the same gender and different genders are the same and should be treated as such.