Candide Personal Response

Personally, I really enjoyed reading Candide. I liked that there were so many different events, so it never got boring. As well, the fact that all the things happening were very unexpected helped me to keep reading in order to find out how the story will continue. Also the ending was unpredictable, which is in my opinion keeping the story interesting. I liked the way satire was used in this novel, because in my opinion that made it more enjoyable to read. Furthermore, I liked the language used way more than in the other books we read so far, which is probably also connected to the fact that it was written in a more modern way, so it was easier to understand.

A fact I didn’t like about Candide was that so many people and countries were criticised, but not only based on personal experiences of Voltaire, but based on prejudices. Even though I wasn’t a fan of this, I still think it was brave of Voltaire to mention his opinions and criticism about the actions of the government and population during that time, because he probably got a lot of enemies from that. The sudden changes in the story helped making the story interesting, but also made it seem very unrealistic at some point.

Candide´s final conclusion that “we must cultivate our garden” was a very good ending in my opinion, because he finally realised that he had to do something about his life and find something that interests him in order to find happiness or at least live a bearable life. For that, they have to leave their past and the tradegie It also made me think about my own life and what I do to be happy and enjoy life.

“Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens: two pastiches

Passage 1

At such a time I found out for certain, that this cozy place surrounded by snow was our house; and that this old big man with the dark hair, harsh in his ways, and also the young athletic boy in a hoodie, were our coaches; and that Anni, Bent, Linn, Nooa, and Friedi, athletes of the aforesaid, were exhausted and tired; and that the high grey walls, intersected with trees and slopes and cottages, with tiny people moving on them, were the mountains; and that the blue calm surface beyond, was the lake; and that the frightening restless lane from which the noise was coming , was the highway; and that the small bundle watching it all from the side and feeling home, was me.


Passage 2

A small women, all in light grey, with her black hair in a ponytail. A women with boots, and a dress, and with a scarf around her neck. A women who had been laughed at in school, and appreciated in university, and admired by her friends, and hurt by her family, and helped by her teachers, and loved by her husband; who cried, and laughed, and studied, and improved; and whose mind got stronger as she found her place in life on her own.

Antigone Personal Response

In the play “Antigone”, written by Sophocles, I personally think Antigone is the protagonist. Both Antigone and Creon play very important roles in the play, but Antigone is the one who carries the story the most and her actions are the centre of the play.

The whole argument in this play was triggered by the fact that Antigone broke Creon´s law and buried her brother Polyneices. She was the only one who had the courage to do so and stayed loyal to her family. Nevertheless, her actions resulted in  Creon becoming very angry and sentencing her to death. Of course you could argue that this situation was actually initiated by Creon because he made the law that nobody is allowed to bury Polyneices, but I think that is only partly true. If Antigone would just have listened to Ismene and accepted the law like all the other citizens of Thebes did, none of the following conflict would have ever been established.

Creon speaks more passages in the play than Antigone does, but nearly all of them are about Antigone or people connected to her. Towards the end of the play, Antigone´s death even results in the death of Haemon, because he killed himself, mostly due to Antigone´s death. Also Eurydice´s death goes back to Antigone, because her own son died because of his wife. A the messenger says: ”She (Eurydice) stabbed herself at the altar, then her eyes went dark, after she´d raised a cry for the noble fate of Megarus, the hero killed in the first assault, then Haemon, then with her dying breath she called down torments on your head-you killed her sons.” (p.126).

In conclusion, I think that Antigone and not Creon or any other character is the protagonist, because she is the main reason for most of the conflict in the play. This is also recommended by the name of the play, “Antigone”.

Personal Response to Oedipus The King

After finishing reading Oedipus The King, I realised that Oedipus is the only main character. He was the person the whole story was build around. There were other very important characters like Jocasta or Creon, but Oedipus was definitely the centre of the story.

Throughout the play, he was arrogant and selfish most of the time. In comparison, Jocasta seemed to be a very polite and loving wife. Nevertheless, in the end of the play, Oedipus is horrified by his sins and claws out his eyes, and Jocasta commits suicide because she is so disgraced. The characters disappointed me with these actions, but at least it shows that Oedipus regrets his actions in the past.

I liked the end of the play more than the beginning (from p.200 on) because so many things happened and there were a lot of tensions between the different characters. Also, most conversations were between the single characters and the chorus did not appear as often anymore, which in my opinion made it more enjoyable to read.

Response to: A man. A woman. Just friends?

The reading “A man. A woman. Just friends?” made me think about my friendships, and especially my friendships with people from the opposite gender. The author questions if friendships between men and woman can actually work out or not, which made me think of my friends. Actually, I realized that about half of my best friends are boys, so from the opposite gender. That raised the question in me why the author thinks about this topic so critically. The author mostly wrote down facts, rather than his own experiences. At first, he talked about historical facts and that in the past, before feminism, friendships between opposite genders were basically non-existent. This raised the question why it was this way and also why women were seen as inferior in the past and were separated from men. After that, the author talked about some of his own experiences in high school and then talked about the present. He stayed neutral most of the time and only talked about facts. The main reason he mentioned was that at some point in a cross-sex friendship, the romantic or sex part would be missed or would come up. After I thought about this, I personally disagreed, because I believe that you can just be friends with a person from the opposite sex. I am just as close with my male friends as I am with my female friends, without missing anything. Nevertheless, I think it is a reasonable argument and might be true in some cases. In this context, I got the question if there are scientific or psychological studies that confirm this argument or that say something against it? In the end, the author wrote the statement “Friendships between the sexes may no longer be a political issue, but it is an issue of liberation: the freedom to love whom you want, in the way that you want. Maybe it´s time that we all took it out of the closet.” I think it is a very important and true statement and society should work on this topic, in all cultures. There may be some places where it is allowed to love whoever you want in the way you want, but there are still many cultures where this is not the case and this topic is avoided, or even forbidden to mention. This raised the question in me how this could be changed and how it could become a topic that nobody has to be ashamed of in any part of the world?