All posts by Lydia

Enough is Enough

In the article “Enough is Enough”, Bates described her struggle with women’s rights. This has been an issue for me since I was 13 years old. I have restricted myself from food many times because I was concerned about my weight and wanted to fit in with society. I started comparing myself to the false beauty standard in the world. I often care about what other people think of me, of my body, of my looks. When I read this passage, it felt relatable. 

The Awakening: Personal Response

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

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

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

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

 

Personal Response: Pygmalion

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

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

 

A Doll’s House

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

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

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

Letter to Langston Hughes

Dear Langston Hughes,

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

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

“And then the wall rose,

rose slowly,

slowly,

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

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

“My hands!

My dark hands!

Break through the wall!

Find my dream!

Help me to shatter this darkness,

To smash this night,

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Lydia Lam

Oedipus and Antigone: Men vs Women

As Ismene said, “Remember we are women, we’re not born to contend with men.” (page 62) She believes that women must be ruled by men because they are weak. Ismene made it clear that women are second class citizens compared to men who rule everything. Antigone’s reaction to her sister was powerful. Antigone said “But leave me to my own absurdity, leave me to suffer this – dreadful thing. I will suffer nothing as great as death without glory.” (page 64)In these aspects, Antigone made it clear that what matters is standing up for what is right. Gender issues are not just about making sure you have a strong faith. For Antigone, it means the ability to know that no matter what the consequences are, you must fight for your beliefs and pursue it all the way to the end.

Sophocles takes the reader through ancient Greek, a patriarchal society dominated by men. “What? You’d kill your own son’s bride?” Ismene (page 89) then Creon replied with “Absolutely: there are other field for him to plow.” He is denying Antigone’s emotional value for Haemon. He is proved wrong as Haemon really loves Antigone, not only because she is his fiancé, but that he is madly in love with her, that’s the reason why she is irreplaceable and why Creon was wrong about objectifying women.