Slaughterhouse-Five PR

Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, is a remarkable work of literature that diverges from the other novels we’ve encountered in DP2, particularly the Awakening by Kate Chopin and The Color Purple by Alice Walker. While all three novels offer distinctive insights into the human experience, they differ significantly in terms of narrative approach and  structural composition.

The novel’s main theme—the senselessness of war—is reflected in Vonnegut’s narrative style. Billy Pilgrim, the main character, experiences time as an unchanging, continuous reality through his deft use of time travel and the Tralfamadorian worldview summed up by the slogan “so it goes.” In this “4D” world everything that has happened, will happen and is happening all occurs at the same time. By skillfully contrasting the tragedies of war with the silliness of life itself, this narrative method creates a strange sensation of detachment that is simultaneously tragic and hilarious. The Awakening and The Colour Purple, in stark contrast, follow conventional “linear” tales that follow the individuals’ individual travels and challenges.

Furthermore, Vonnegut skillfully incorporates his personal experiences as a World War II soldier into a fictitious story in Slaughterhouse-Five. In the narrative, the author himself breaks the fourth wall and provides insights into the creative process. This component enhances the story by blending the lines between fact and fiction and encouraging viewers to question the narrator’s credibility. On the other hand, the narrators in The Awakening and The Colour Purple, Edna Pontellier and Celie, respectively, narrate their stories in a more direct and personal manner, giving their own descriptions of their experiences.

There are several possible explanations to the bizarre expositions in the text. I am of course referring to the Tralfamadorians and their idea of a 4D world. They way I manage to make sense of the book – if you can even make sense of it – is thorough the idea that main character of Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy Pilgrim, suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of his horrific experiences during World War II. Flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive memories, avoidance, emotional numbness, and skewed beliefs are a few of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this is very similar to the stories we are told by the narrator about billy pilgrim.

Talking about the narrative technique, the novel reflects Billy’s PTSD by using that non-linear structure that jumps from one time period to another without any logical order. The novel also mixes reality and fantasy, making it hard to distinguish between what is real and what is imagined by Billy. These imaginary aspects are formed by the possible PTSD. The novel challenges the conventional notions of causality, free will, and morality that are often associated with war stories. The novel suggests that war is senseless, random, and inevitable, and that human beings have no control over their fate.

The affect of this narrative technique on the readers is the sensation that we too have something similar to PTSD. With all the jumbled paragraphs and random timeline we find ourselves questioning our own sanity.




The Color Purple PR

The Color Purple by Alice walker was a book that, initially, I didn’t care for. However, much like many of the other classics we have read I found myself getting more and more engaged. Until eventually one might say that I even ENJOYED reading it. The Color Purple was a book like no other. I have never read a book which  was solely composed of short letters, yet funnily it was these short letters that kept me so intrigued. Walker’s artistry as a writer and her deliberate choices in crafting the narrative contribute significantly to the emotional and intellectual impact this novel has on its audience. The two Authorial choices that resonated most with me were the use of Celie’s letters as a way to connect with readers and infusing the narrative with the authenticity of dialect. Walker is able to weave a story that evokes both deep sorrow and profound inspiration.

One of the remarkable features of Walker’s writing is her skillful use of multiple narrative voices. The story primarily unfolds through the medium of letters penned by Celie, the central character, addressed to God. This unique format grants us intimate access to Celie’s innermost thoughts and feelings. Walker’s decision to employ this epistolary style fosters a profound sense of connection between the reader and Celie. We are privy to her incredible transformation from a voiceless, oppressed young woman into a resilient and independent individual. Reading Celie’s letters feels akin to peering into someone’s private journal, forging an unbreakable bond of empathy and immersion that few other narrative techniques can achieve.

Walker’s portrayal of Celie’s voice is nothing short of authentic and distinct. Celie’s voice evolves as she gains self-assurance and self-esteem. Her initial letters are marked by pain, confusion, and a profound lack of self-worth. Yet, as the story unfolds, her letters grow progressively more assertive, and her voice resonates with newfound strength. This evolution serves as both a heartwarming and inspiring testament to Celie’s unwavering resilience in the face of adversity. As a reader, I couldn’t help but cheer for her every step of the way.

Furthermore, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between The Color Purple and Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. Walker masterfully employs dialect and vernacular language throughout the novel, imbuing the characters and setting with a profound sense of authenticity. This is very similar to the way in which Eliza’s speech changes from a cockney accent to eloquent and refined “proper” speech throughout the pages of Pygmalion. Walker’s characters’ distinctive voices and speech patterns breathe life into them, making them seem real and relatable. This narrative choice not only immerses the reader in the rural Southern culture but also underscores the significance of individuality and the transformative power of language in shaping one’s identity.

Alice Walker’s writing in “The Color Purple” is a remarkable blend of narrative choices that leaves an enduring impact on readers. Through the intimate medium of Celie’s letters and the authenticity of dialect, Walker crafts a narrative that is both heartrending and up lifting. This novel stands as a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the enduring power of storytelling to inspire change and empathy.

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.

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.

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.

The Bully and His Victim

The case of the bully and his victim is very vague. Because there is very little information specified it is harder to come to a conclusion as to who is at fault. If I were to be the judge the answer would be clear. The victim of the bullying is at full fault. Bullying is not a crime in most countries and where it is considered a crime it must result in mental trauma for charges to be pressed. Mental trauma is almost impossible to be proved and in this case it is my belief that the bullying was not to the extent where any real harm was caused. Assault on the other hand is considered a crime everywhere and purposely breaking someone’s kneecap is severe damage. Therefor, there might have been a justification for the victim to break the bully’s knee however it is still illegal resulting in the conviction of assault to the victim of the bully.

Oppressions, Poverty, and Racial Discrimination in Langston Hughes

The Harlem Renaissance, a social movement that emphasized African American identity and expression in the 1920s, had a well-known figure in Langston Hughes. Poverty, oppression, and racial discrimination that black Americans face are depicted in his poetry.

Let America Be America Again, one of Hughes’ most well-known poems, celebrates the ideal of the United States as a land of opportunity and freedom while acknowledging that this ideal has not been realized for all citizens, particularly black Americans. The sonnet proposes rethinking America as a place where everyone is allowed to live their lives and pursue their goals, regardless of race. vivid imagery and metaphors, like “O, let my land be a land where Liberty / Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath” (ll. 11-12) emphasizes the desire for a brighter future. Let America Be America Again perfectly exemplifies Hughes’ upbeat approach to poetry. You can almost hear the speaker’s longing for a new nation that never existed in the line “O, let America be America again” (line 61). a request in the hope that the United States will once again be free. “And yet I swear this oath—/America will be!” are the lines. show that the speaker has complete faith in you. ll. 77-78).

I, Too, another well-known poem by Hughes, addresses racial inequality. The subject of the sonnet is a white person who tells the speaker that he will eventually need to “eat in the kitchen when organization comes.” ll. 3-4). ” The speaker declares, “When organization comes, I’ll be at the table tomorrow,” demonstrating his respect for humanity. ll. 8-9-10). The line “I, too, sing America” in line 1 has a significant significance. The speaker is speaking on our behalf in an effort to convey the idea that all black people are the same: Their praise and celebration of America (line 18) resulted in the phrase “I, too, am America.” The poem discusses the resilience, fortitude, and unwavering belief in one’s own worth of African Americans in the face of adversity.

In Langston Hughes’ poetry, the experiences of black Americans in the United States are the subject of powerful and insightful commentary. He captures the pain and struggle of a marginalized community while also celebrating their strength and resilience through vivid imagery and metaphor. As a reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality and justice for all people, Hughes’s work is still relevant today.

Memory and the Learning Process

I learned about memory’s fundamental role in learning and its implications for textbook reading from Daniel Willingham’s Outsmart Your Brain Chapter 5. Willingham explains how the brain stores memories in networks and how emotional arousal and repetition can affect how strong these memories are. He also emphasizes the importance of regularly reviewing information due to the fact that memories are reconstructed each time they are retrieved. Willingham suggests that, when reading textbooks, students should break up their study sessions and alternate the practice of various skills to improve long-term retention. Instead of relying on cramming, he emphasizes the importance of reviewing material multiple times. The book makes use of the acronym SQR3 and offers effective reading strategies like assigning a task to be completed while reading. He also warns against skimming through a book and only highlighting the important parts because you might not understand it or give the wrong information the wrong level of importance, taking in irrelevant information.

I was not particularly surprised by any of Willingham’s ideas, but these insights into the workings of memory are very important for students who want to improve their reading comprehension and retain textbook information. However, I did learn about the SSQR3 method, and I intend to try to incorporate it into my reading and studying. Students are said to be able to improve their academic performance and enhance their learning experience by putting Willingham’s methods into practice. In general, the pages 90-104 of Chapter 5 provide useful insights into the science of memory and its application to improving learning outcomes.

Personal Response Candide

In 1759, Voltaire’s sarcastic novel Candide was first published. Candide, a young man who is kicked out of a utopian society, is the focus of the plot. The story follows his development as he overcomes real-life challenges and eventually gives up on the idea that “all is for the best.” The book is a commentary on human nature and a sharp critique of Voltaire’s political and religious systems. My interest was piqued by the book’s sharp satire, optimistic criticism, religious dogma, and cruelties of fate. Free will and the possibility of human suffering and evil are the book’s most important themes for me.

One of the main themes of the book is freedom and how it relates to the possibility of “the best of every conceivable world.” It would appear that Voltaire was implying that the notion that good can come from nothing and that everything is predestined can be used to justify any kind of injustice or suffering. Candide and his friends go through a lot of pain throughout the book, but Pangloss insists that everything is for the best. Voltaire makes fun of Pangloss’s upbeat outlook by using them. Nobody is happy, everything is bad, and everything always goes wrong, especially the main character, Candide. His assertion that our world is not “the best of all possible worlds” is supported by this.

The concept of human suffering and the problem of evil is another theme. Candide and his companions go through a lot of suffering and injustice throughout the book, including war, poverty, and discrimination. It would appear that Voltaire is suggesting that these things are the result of human ferocity and cruelty rather than of a kind world.

Candide and his companions ultimately reject Pangloss’s philosophy and adopt a more practical lifestyle at the book’s conclusion. Candide believed that the best way to live was to “cultivate our garden” and make the most of our circumstances. This is interpreted as a metaphor for rejecting the idea that everything will work out for the best, taking charge of our own lives, and seizing opportunities as they present themselves.

In general, Candide is a book that mocks hope and the idea that everyone benefits from everything. Voltaire encourages readers to take responsibility for their own happiness and well-being and argues for a more pragmatic and realistic approach to life through the experiences of Candide and his companions. The inquiry, “Was Voltaire’s time optimistic?” emerges subsequently. And do all authors write to share their unique worldviews? What stands in the way of a happy ending and the “best of every conceivable world” in the final scene of Candide?

Paradise and Death Personal Response

“Paradise and Death” written by Eric MacKnight has me pondering over my own ideas of escape and its constant lurid temptations. Much like Odysseus’s many encounters that would inevitably let him escape his troubles I too have options for escape. My troubles may seem trivial when compared to those of the great Odysseus, he had to fight in a war that lasted 10 years, while I just have too much homework. However, this essay proposed the idea of escape, Odysseus never actually had to go home, there were many options in-between. In fact, some of the opportunities he faced as a means of escape were too good to be true. Why would someone turn down an eternity of love with a very beautiful woman, or a chance to live in the past? Both are options I would take without hesitation. My life is in no way similar to Odysseus’ yet I am constantly looking for a way to escape my troubles. Take school for an example, a never-ending struggle of education, starting when you are four and ending when you graduate, either high school, college, or university. There is always that pressure to get the highest level of education possible. After education than what? You are working until you are 60 and that is if you are lucky. I have thought about this a lot and there are several escapes that tempt even the most ambitious of us all. The most obvious of them all is to drop out of school. Why do all this work, only to continue working for the rest of your life? However, the difference between me and Odysseus is dropping out of school is frowned upon whereas Odysseus’ escapes are according to the essay “a kind of paradise”(pg.1). So why? Why don’t I just drop out of school and why doesn’t Odysseus take these simple escapes? Because life is harder than the easiest way out. An education gives life purpose, a job gives life purpose, so do the many other challenging aspects of our life, all of them give us something to live for. For me to live without school would be the most boring this ever and for Odysseus to live without felling, that is to cave into temptation, is a life not worth living. This is perfectly summed up in the last paragraph of the essay and possible my favorite sentence, “For Odysseus, for everyone, unconsciousness is death, and the only life worth living is that peculiarly human life, that life which is pain”(pg. 18).

Not only did this essay have me thinking about life’s choices it was extremely well written. The use of through analyzation, evidence, reasoning and clear writing all contribute to make a truly awe inspiring essay. When I say I do not normally like reading essays I am telling the truth, however this essay had me turning the pages faster than a novel. The one thing that makes it particularly easy to read is clear writing. Each sentence is written with one topic in mind, not overly complicated, and has plenty of evidence to support it. An example of this is on page twelve, “However, we cannot stop at remarking that life in Phaiákia is trivial, or that the Phaiákians are naive.” This is a clear topic sentence that directly outlines what will be said in the following paragraph. One thing my writing is lacking is clarity. I often have an idea in my head and then write it on the page, most of the time the idea that was in my head is only partially translated into words and clear ideas. However when I read over it all I can see is the ideas that are still in my head. Therefore this is one aspect of my writing that I could improve upon and which I have learned from reading this essay. Another thing that I could not help but notice is the amount of analyzation in a single essay. There is almost eighteen pages of it. I find this incredible and another compelling reason to read the entire essay. Analyzation is another big part of writing an essay and I would like to incorporate it as much as possible into my next piece of formal writing.

Antigone – The Acceptance of Death

Antigone proved itself to be true to the genre of tragedy, far more than I could have expected it to be. Full of fortuitous twists, the emotions this play evoked ranged from surprise to remorse as well as the many unexpected feelings in between. One page led to the next and soon enough I was engrossed in a Greek masterpiece, full of love, hate, vengeance and death. Sophocles managed to engage and enthrall me in countless ways. Perhaps it was the stubborn and strong-willed protagonist or the incredulity of the plot, yet either way this play had me intrigued.

Death, the underlying theme of many tragedies was undeniably present in Antigone. Humanity has always been fascinated with death, it has been feared, studied respected and questioned. Antigone is no exception to humanity. Sophocles’ play exploits the realm of embracing death and fearing it, to wish for death and to dread it. This fascinated me. What happens after we die? I am sure that I am not alone when I say that this question has haunted and intrigued me for many years. The play does not answer that one big question, however it discusses our relationship with the thought of dying. The two main characters Antigone and Creon have opposing views. Antigone, a character that I admire, says, “Die I must, I’ve known it all my life” (p. 81, l.513).  Throughout the play she bluntly states that she does not care about death overpowering her, she embraces death, if it means that her brother will receive the burial he deserves. This demonstrates both her view of death and why I admire her as a character. Even if she is put to death as a result of her actions, she is ready to accept responsibility and ready to die. She has a strong sense of self and is willing to risk her life for what she believes in. On the opposing side there is Creon, the man that fears death. In my opinion Creon is a coward, a man who will do anything to avoid pain and loss of power. This fear is subtle and is harder to discern from the text, however it can be seen on page 125 when Creon says, “harbor of death, so choked, so hard to cleanse!-/Why me? Why are you killing me?” (pg. 125). This passage shows the fear in a man who believes his time is up, giving Creon opposite qualities of that of a hero, and illustrating his opposing view to those of Antigone. To me, both of these cases are absolute extremes. Does anyone really want to die? And does anyone really fear death? The answer to these questions, I am sure, would differ dramatically depending on age, health status, mental health, race, religion and culture. But the one thing I cannot help reflecting upon is how these crucial questions are still very much themes in today’s society, and how an author wrote about these timeless topics thousands of years ago?

As previously mentioned, I really admire and respect the character Antigone and all she portrayed. As the elder of two siblings and a observative in nature, I’ve noted obvious differences in family dynamics based on the line up. Oldest is typically the well-behaved golden child, middle is the more spontaneous, and the last is the do-no- wrong baby. As the oldest daughter, Antigone not only stepped out of this stereotype, but strayed as far away from it as she could. Suffering death in the eyes of everyone except her, who believed in something so much she invited it in. She also earned my respect when looking at societal norms of this time, between male and female. In the eyes of the majority, including the ruler Creon, Eteocle’s fought back for what he believed in, dying with respect and chivalry. However when Antigone does something she believes in she dies the dishonorable one, why is that? She as a woman, was not expected to lay her life down for anything. Antigone was supposed to be just another obedient, pretty face, such as her younger but more compliant and favored sister Ismene. Only men were respected for dying for their beliefs, and that was shown in this scenario, being viewed as a stupid girl for doing the very same thing as her male peers. To me, Antigone died an honorable death, just as honorable as Eteocles. It may be argued that the protagonist and the tragic hero of the story is Creon, but to me Antigone took the main role.

Antigone was a play filled with issues and topics that are still relevant today, this is why I enjoyed it so much. Every good piece of writing should raise questions. Antigone certainly did. Questions about death and humans relationship with it, questions regarding the position of a women as a gender and questions about fate and its inescapability. Was Antigone really the one making the decisions or was it all the work of the gods?

Oedipus the King – A Masterpiece

Oedipus the King was an eventful story. Full of twists and turns that left me engaged and puzzled. This tragedy was as tragic as a play can get, with the main character marrying his mother and killing his father. Every second of the book was eventful with either arguments or injuries’ and in some cases, death. There were several main reasons I enjoyed this text for one the way it is written, as a play, and for another dramatic irony and emotional writing that is found on every single page.

Naturally, this was not the first time I had come across the unfortunate story of Oedipus. I had stumbled over it many years ago when I visited Greece, it was a popular bed time story. However this was the first time I had read Sophocles and the play titled Oedipus the King. My first thought when I opened the book was: it’s a play? I had never imagined that the story I read as a child was in fact a Greek play, but let me say this, I am so glad that it was. Without all the “extra” words on the page, the plot and characters were far easier to follow, the arguments felt more real and most importantly it kept you wanting to read the next line, then the next one and the one after that.

Oedipus:                                                                                                        You think you can keep this up and never suffer?

Tiresias:                                                                                                          Indeed, if the truth has any power.

Oedipus:                                                                                                        It does but not for you, old man. You’ve lost your power, stone blind, stone-deaf senses, eyes blind as stone! (l. 420-423)

These few lines illustrate the moreish effect of a play. You want to read the next line. You want to know what Tiresias said next. On top of that there is also a certain freedom when reading a play, your mind can wonder, allowing you to picture the scenes in your head without the author attempting to describe them for you. I struggle to read books, I find it a long and argues task. That however, was not the case for a Sophocles play.

I also enjoyed the emotional writing, dramatic irony and the beautiful poetry, woven throughout the story. Where you least expected it one of the characters would burst out in a big speech, always in well written lines of poetry. These speeches, to me, added an emotional value to the play. One line in particular spoken by Tiresias to Oedipus, “Blind who now has eyes” (l. 516). These five words carry the answer to everything, these five words have such value in the play. As we know Oedipus is blind, not physically but metaphorically, as he can not see what is literally right in front of him. In other words he can not see himself. He is the murder. Tiresias also goes as far as to say “now”, blind who “now” has eyes, foreshadowing and predicting what is to come. Dramatic irony added some comedy to a tragedy and can be seen on almost every page. It is this irony that made me love the play even more. It gets the reader thinking, how could he possible say that? For example “Now my curse on the murder…let that man drag out his life in agony” (l. 280-284). Oedipus places a curse on himself, yet he does not yet know what he has done. Everyone in the audience would be laughing or incredulous at this little speech because they all know how dumb the protagonist looks. But maybe it is exactly this to which people relate? In the end I view Oedipus as a hero, a hero who happened to have an unlucky fate, whos life was out of his hands, and who did nothing wrong but pursue an unfortunate truth. I greatly enjoyed Oedipus the King and look forward to reading more of Sophocles’ works in the future.


Who am I?

Hello, my name is Tristan Boxshall. I am from Canada, born in Vancouver and raised in Victoria. However, my entire family is English, just in case you are wondering why I constantly get teased for being “British”. I play a variety of sports including: tennis, volleyball and basketball. I have a strong passion for music and play the piano, along with cello and saxophone. This is my third year at Brookes, second year with Mr. MacKnight in English. Trust me two years feels like an eternity. I have one goal for this year which is to hand everything in on time. Ironically I have already failed as I am writing this post 5 days late. So I restate my goal and expectations, starting next week I will hand everything in on time and whenever possible I will try to be ahead of the work load as well as take the extra steps to prepare myself for classes. English is a hard subject and I often fell behind on assignments and posts last year which is why I am even more driven to do my absolute best this year. I am dreading the year ahead because I have heard it is a lot to handle and yet I am looking forward to the new friends, new learning and new experiences that come along with it.