Personal Response to “The Darling”


Chekhov creates a submissive character who is seemingly anti-feminist. When I say anti-feminist, I mean she feels she needs a man to rely on, in order to make decisions or opinions. Chekhov appears to use elements of satire to expose the anti-feminist society in effect when the story was written.


While this humorous story is engaging, I couldn’t avoid getting annoyed with Olga Semyonovna’s inability to form an opinion. Specifically about people she is in love with. It appears she falls in love with different individuals frequently, causing me to think she is incapable of being confident about her own opinions and expressing her own identity. However, I reminded myself that this story appears to expose her anti-feminist personality through satire, exposing how she “needs” a man to make decisions. Her “personality” reminds me of the inconsistent weather introduced in the first paragraph. “It was hot, the flies were nagging and teasing…”(ll. 2-3). This implies it is summer. “Dark rain clouds were gathering from the east , wafting a breath of moisture every now and then” (ll. 3-4). When I read about “Dark rain clouds”, I automatically think of a cold and wet environment such as Victoria or Moscow, Russia. These two phrases seemingly contradict each other. This is similar to how Olga’s love for a specific individual is contradicted by her interest in different people (specifically men).


The repetition of the phrase(s) “You darling!” or “The darling!” was frustratingly overused. However, the author uses imagery, sound, tone, diction, etc. as they have a purpose in the story. In my opinion, the author is using repetition of the phrase as satire to expose her need to rely on men to form decisions. However, there could be a deeper meaning I may not have found yet, so I look forward to reading this story again, to further develop an understanding of its meaning, and discovering why the author chose to write this story.



Date: March 24, 2022

Subject: English Literature: HL

Novel: Things Fall Apart

Author: Chinua Achebe

The author depicted his characters through association. For example: Amalinze, the wrestler was nicknamed ‘The Cat’ (pg. 3), Okonkwo was called the “Roaring flame” (pg. 153), and Ezinma was called the “Crystal of Beauty”(pg. 172). Each of these titles have an aura that appeal to specific emotions within the reader. When reader’s hear “Cat” they may think of stealthiness, and when they hear “Roaring Flame” they may think of anger or someone with an intense personality. Lastly, when a reader hears the term “Crystal of Beauty”, they may think of something beautiful or may find the idea of someone being objectified as offensive or derogatory.

Through the author’s association of his character’s with objects or ideas, it made the novel more interesting to read, as it introduced me to a different culture which I was never aware of. Notwithstanding, there were shocking elements regarding the social structure and status of women. However, this is not unlike what we have read in “The Color Purple”  where rape, and other acts of violence against women occured. In “Things Fall Apart we see Okonkwo threatens Ekwefi with a gun before hunting (pg. 39) and express ideas which appear hostile to the western world. His commands such as; “Sit like a woman!” (pg.44), and his pride regarding his son grumbling about women, because it showed “he could control his women folk” (pg. 53) was appalling. To disregard any negative emotion towards Okonkwo, it was important to remember not to allow my western education to interfere with my ability to learn and not be cynical towards other cultures in which I know nothing about. 

Although “Things Fall Apart” deals with similar themes as “The Color Purple”, its structure is different. It would not make sense for this novel to be written as if it were a collection of letters because of the time frame in which it was written, and because we may feel more hate towards specific characters. For example: If the novel were simply a collection of letters exchanged between individuals, we may not know whether the context in which it was written is accurate. If Okonkwo were to write a letter explaining the importance of controlling women, we may feel inclined to disregard this claim. But it is easier to read and understand when there is a narrator which provides important details about a culture in which they are familiar with. It provides a sense of trust.


Finally, I learned that a reader can learn a lot about a character through the author’s association of them with an object or another living organism. When we ponder the traits expressed or stereotyped about that object or person, we can gain a vague understanding of who they are. However, this does not completely define them! This strategy cannot be used in all situations because we may be unsure of its literal or figurative context. 

I enjoyed this novel because the author focused on the emotion of anger throughout most of the novel, while providing moments of vulnerability in which the reader could gain a real sense of a character’s personality. Sometimes the theme of anger seemed overwhelming and it was refreshing when the character who expressed this emotion the most, was able to show his softer, and more elegant traits.


Rather than provide a huge summary and give my opinion about the book, I will get straight to the point. Tess of the d’Urbervilles is an emotional rollercoaster of a novel. I liked how it raised thought provoking questions. As annoying as it is, I was intrigued by questions in which no answer could be given. Questions like: What motivated the author to write this book? Was it completely fictional? Was it loosely based off of an encounter made by the author or a story told by another individual?

I was rather disturbed with the ideas raised regarding the idea of the human body being “owned” by another human being. Pages 356-357 when Tess writes her letter to Angel is where this theme reaches the pinnacle of its existence. The specific quote from the letter I am referring to is as follows: “People still say that I am rather pretty, Angel (handsome is the word they use, since I wish to be truthful). Perhaps I am what they say. But I do not value my good looks: I only like to have them because they belong to you, my dear…” (pg. 357). The desperation included within this quote is also what provokes me to question the literary motivations of this novel by the author. Where did he get these ideas? Was he using reverse psychology against the readers to portray himself as more progressive about social status, religion, and gender roles, although he believed women were to blame in any sexual temptation situation simply because of their good looks? 

I thought the author exposed the desperation present within male and females when it comes to relationships, however his portrayal of the men appeared more realistic. Regardless he does make the male characters such as Angel appear unrealistically forgiving and desperate for relationships when he said he did not care that Tess killed Alex d’Urbervilles. When Tess says: “I would be content, ay glad, to live with you as your servant, if I may not as your wife…”(pg. 357), the author seems to make her unrealistically desperate for a man who left her. 

Response To Knowledge and the Arts

In the Knowledge and Arts essay on page 1, I was not convinced there are only two parties involved in a work of art. Sure the artist creates it and the audience views it, but there must be more. I can agree that technical and personal knowledge as well as experience are factors in the production of art, but how do we know we can trust these experiences and simply claim we have created or displayed knowledge? One specific aspect of studying the art is tracing where the artist’s ideas were derived from. Are they truly original, or are they simply expanding on a previous individual’s philosophies? It’s easy to say there are many ways of knowing, but how do we know what we claim to know? This is important to ponder as simply concluding the arts produce knowledge may be misleading. However, I am not arguing that the arts do not produce knowledge. I truly believe they do, but mainly when important issues such as politics, sexism, and global catastrophes occur, do they truly evolve. For example, if a new undiscovered or depicted natural disaster occurred, and someone made an art piece depicting it, I would consider that pure knowledge production. However, proving that the artist did experience the event may be hard unless a whole group of people testify and say it did happen.


I believe looking at an artist’s background to help understand their art is complete nonsense. It shapes our perception of them and may lead to the misleading conclusions of the initial knowledge they were trying to produce. On page 2, when it asks whether we would be better off studying such things as history and anthropology directly, I question whether that would work either. For example: If you wanna study Inca gold and you have it in your hand, besides weighing it and looking at the designs engraved on it, what knowledge are you producing? How do you “study something directly”? I believe we sabotage our ability to effectively learn from the arts. The constant sensationalism ( empiricism limiting our experiences as a source of knowledge to sensation or sense perceptions ) is ruining the real knowledge we can obtain from it. I believe this is what causes an almost automatic decision to derive our ideas from previous individuals and knowledge. I do agree with the ideas presented on pages 4-6, regarding the habit of asking the wrong questions. “What does it mean?” is not specific and allows for someone to give any crap answer from ‘knowledge’ they may have received from their grade 10 science teacher (just an example). “Where was it derived from?” is not perfect, but would be more suitable. If you use the tree example provided on page 6, and you ask “where was it derived from?”  you could be asking how science (or a higher power, if you believe in that) came up with all these cool creations that come in multiple forms such as trees. I believe that the questions raised on pages 9 and 10 are nonsense (sorry). They lead to bigger questions that cause us to question what we claim to know and further sabotage the whole process of figuring out who we are, and what we are meant to be doing. See, it’s a big endless loop. Despite this, it was a well thought out, and well written essay.



Passage 1:

About the time I was fully informed, this run-down setting, with overgrown brush was the graveyard and; Philip Pirrip, the name of this memorial park, and who was father of those listed below, were alive and unburied; and that Joy, Pain, Happiness, Sadness, and Anger, all the emotions I felt when I believed they were dead and gone; were the dark flat lies that hide in and beyond the human soul, intwined in emotions of love and ecstasy and greed, with dispersed feelings of resentment towards life; the human heart; and that above it, a horrible setting that was to be discovered, was the brain; and that the faint breathing you heard, that emulates the movement of wind, was the horrible energy; the energy that keeps you alive, and ‘creates’ emotions that may or may not be real, was spirit.

Passage 2:

A Cheerful man, all in bright red, with a great beard attached to his face. A woman with a bright smile, and with two big boots, and long hair that covered her head. An elf who had been soaked in snow, squashed by hooves, and cut by antlers, pushed by humans, and rewarded with presents; who snarled, hobbled, delivered, and grumbled and; whose body shivered in the sleigh as the man barked out orders.


Personal Response to Color Purple

“The Color Purple” is an important work of literature. It manages to create suspense within areas that are not as engaging. It provides immense insight into the oppression received by women and how the color of their skin made their problems worse. I thought the author managed to use a literary form, that captures the readers attention right away. I was impressed with the authors ability to create some sort of immediate suspense, to engage the readers.

Some parts of the story I found to be questionable, as the ending did not feel realistic. I am not sure whether two women who were separated at such a young age would see each other again in such happy terms. Especially after the department of defense said one of the sisters’ ship’s had sunk.  However, this may have been the form the author chose to exercise the suspenseful theme just before the end of the story. 

In the introduction, I talked about how the story provides ‘immense insight into the oppression received by women”. Throughout the beginning and the very end of the novel, most if it letters is addressed to God. However, before the story switches to letters being addressed to Celies’ sister Nettie, I noticed how the idea of losing faith was being introduced. On page 176 (new version), I noticed that The letter starts with ‘Dear God”, but it ends with; “You must be sleep”. If I am not interpreting this incorrectly, it seems like Celie is starting to lose faith and feels God is not giving her his fullest attention and protection.  

Also Included within the introduction, I talked about how the author was seemingly exploring the elements of suspense. Before even reading about Celie getting raped by Alphanso, the first element of suspense come from the first sentence. “You better not never tell nobody but god. It’d kill your mammy.” This caused me to wonder what happened and increased my heart rate. Then when I learn the character (didn’t know her name yet) is 14 years, that also raised my internal alarm. When the two words “I am” were crossed out in exchange for “I have always been”, I assumed the phrase meant she had done something wrong. I do wish that more letter edits were made throughout the novel, to make it seem more realistic and personal.

Some questions this novel raises is; Is this an accurate representation of what black female women experienced? I wonder if in real life, sisters would be reunited with each other after so many years apart. This relates to questions about whether the ending is realistic, ar a sort of figment of the authors’ imagination. 

Overall, this novel has a vast amount of emotion put into it, making it compelling to read. I was not overly impressed with this novel in terms of the plot, because it is feels like there are no twists and turns or anything to make me feel excited to read the next chapter. I felt like something awful might happen with every page, whether it was physically or emotionally. 

“In a Grove” Response Blog Post (WDolan)

This story is sad, but it covers multiple global issues. Problems such as some men’s desire for women, inability to understand other people’s cultures, and the meaning of life. I was intrigued by the authors idea to include a medium to interpret the last thoughts of the murdered man. I wonder whether she wanted to spark confusion or questions about whether the medium was credible or accurate.

WDolan_Reflection on My Writing

My writing has changed since September as I have learned to be more specific when explaining the points I have brought up in the assessments. I think I have strived to be become a better English writer because I became extremely annoyed by the first two weeks of the teacher constantly telling me I was not being specific enough. I have also been able to present my ideas in logical order and build the intensity better than the beginning of the year.


To improve the quality of my writing, I need to think more critically to gain a 360 degree perspective of all aspect of the stories or texts I am reading. I need to increase my vocabulary and not let my bias interfere with the facts or approach of a story. I find that making shorter and simpler sentences is easier, meaning I no longer feel the need to use sophisticated words to make my assignments “sound better”. 

WDolan The Awakening Personal Response

In Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening”, the reader learns the story of a woman named Edna, who grappled with the ideas of being a wife living a traditional life, being self-reliant, and free-willed individual. Edna represents the idea of teleology. She has reasons for why she has many affairs, but does not necessarily know about the causes in which they arise. However, seeing how this is frowned upon in the story, it seems society follows more consequentialist principles.

In the beginning of the story, I had the impression that Edna was selfish. It seemed she wanted whatever she liked and was not considerate of other people’s feelings. On page 136 she says: “To-day it is Arobin: to-morrow it will be someone else”. This may seem selfish, but when an individual is unhappy, their feelings are valid. However, they are not always right. Was Edna justified to end her life and leave her children? Was it better for them to not have a scandal caused by Edna inflicted on them? Her final thoughts are about people she cares about. She thinks of Robert, (“There was no human being whom she wanted near her except Robert…” pg 136), and her children. Despite this, it does seem she realizes all the positivity within her life has been stripped away from her, once she was abandoned by her family. Did she really love the ones she was surrounded by? Or were they obstacles and preventing her from having other affairs?

I think it is important to debate Edna’s appreciation of her partner. I am not sure I would refer to them as family since they aren’t married and she has many affairs. On page 81, Madame Pontellier suggests that Edna may be more united if Robert stayed around longer. However, Edna responds with “Oh! Dear no! What should I do if he stayed home? We wouldn’t have anything to say to each other”. Did she respond this way fearing that if Robert stayed home, it would interfere with her freedoms? If this is the case, I would find her response reasonable since women were not given much freedom during this time frame. Her marriage appears to be a type of imprisonment for her. Therefore the only ending available to Edna is death. This relates to an earlier topic discussed about paradise and death. Edna would love to have everything she desires and have other individuals behave the way she deems appropriate. However, if she were to receive all this, her life may have become a mini paradise, and she would still not be satisfied, because she cannot alter the perfect nature of her life. This creates a kind of death within her life, which may have lead to the same ending of the story, where Edna takes her own life.

In summary, the book has many symbols, amd metaphors throughout, adding to its complexity. The book appeals to one gender over the other, because, in my opinion, the romantic scenes were too graphic. It provides excellent insight into what the earlier developments of feminism looked like, and how the story shaped the future. I learned about other people’s perspective on the meaning of life, and what makes their lives important.

WDolan “Doll’s house” Personal Reponse Act 3

I enjoyed ‘A Doll’s House’ by Henrik Ibsen immensely. I think the title of the play was fitting as Torvald continuously manipulated Nora like a doll and treated her as a child or non-human inferior creature.

I liked Nora, as I thought she represented the qualities of strong women. I sympathized for her since she has been treated as Torvald’s possession throughout the entire story. He calls her ‘treasure’, ‘skylark’, ‘sweet tooth’, and so on. However, I was intrigued by how she was so blunt about leaving her children. I did not know whether to think of her as an irresponsible mother, or someone who has been through enough pain and deserved to live a free life. I do not like Helmer because he is manipulative and he suggests throughout the play that Nora is stupid and that he loves her for her attractive appearance.

I thought the ending was disappointing because it was so abrupt, and Nora willingly left her children behind. However, Nora’s desperation and confrontation with Torvald Helmer felt realistic because she knew he would not want her to leave. One question Act III raised for me was: ‘In what sense does Helmer’s attitude reflect society in the past and present?’ 

In conclusion,  I gained more perspective on the social structure and expected behavior from women within that time frame. Women seemed taken advantaged of for their appearance rather being respected for their qualities.

WDolan_Letter_To Langston_Hughes

Langston Hughes

January 11 2021

William Dolan


Brookes Westshore

1939 Sooke Rd, Victoria, BC V9B 1W2

Colwood, British Columbia


Dear Mr. Langston Hughes,

I am writing this letter to tell you how much I enjoy your poetry. I especially found  “Ruby Brown” and “Negro” to be interesting and thought provoking.

My questions for you would be; How do you start your poems and what influences your ideas? What poet inspires you the most. What is your idea of blues poems? What blues structure do you prefer? What emotions do you think they should create? What is your favorite form of poem? I noticed you use multiple structures, topics, and moods throughout your works.

I found it easy to experience the mood you may have been feeling when you wrote “Ruby Brown”.  The emotion I encountered was joy and sadness.

“She was young and beautiful
And golden like the sunshine
That warmed her body.
And because she was colored
Mayville had no place to offer her,
Nor fuel for the clean flame of joy
That tried to burn within her soul

However with “Negro”, I felt emotions that included sadness, frustration and empathy. In the poem, you talk about black people’s contributions from the continent of Africa, to the country of America. Unless you take history, readers may not know what you mean by:

“The Belgians cut off my hands in the Congo.
They lynch me still in Mississippi.”

Did you initially question whether the vast majority of people would know what this means? What mood were you experiencing while writing this poem, and how do you view the world? Should more art like your poetry be included to promote different perspectives to make a better society?

I enjoyed your works and their creative content. They have benefitted my education about the arts and my heritage.

Thanks, and best wishes,

William Dolan

WDolan Response to Candide

My chosen global issues are beliefs, values, and education. Candide represents these global issues as he follows ideas implanted in his head by Dr. Pangloss. He refuses to turn away from those values even if they are not for the better good.

Candide is a scornful novel that mockingly explores the evident unpredictability of our lives,  religion, and optimism, thinking that everything occurs for a purpose and that each of us produce our share of luck to make a lasting happiness.

How do the chosen global issues tie into Candide? They address the main elements communicated within the story, and reflect some of the elements included within a real historical timeframe which was the Enlightenment. In society today, we have ideas implanted into our minds either by visual media or governments that tend to create a vision for what the future or present should look like. Based on our education, there are many values and belief’s we follow. Candide’s education by Dr. Pangloss is what influenced his beliefs, values, and education.

In what way are the ideas presented in Candide an example of how we should be vigilant when it comes to caring for those we love? Do Candide’s values reflect our tendency to be unforgiving and full of hatred toward those who hurt us? Should we be more optimistic when it comes giving people a chance to redeem themselves from their mistakes? Should society be more critical towards the ethics behind politics, the treatment of women, religious knowledge systems, and corrupt power of money?

Although Candide may have a comical approach towards the principals of optimism, It has many underlying properties that reflect a better society. I think Candide is an important read for individuals, since it allows people think critically around the comical aspect of the story. Individuals can reflect on the global issues mentioned in the story and add the values into their daily lives.


The Odyssey is an epic poem written by Homer, taking place in ancient Greece. It focuses on the ten year struggle of Odysseus returning home after the Trojan war. During Odysseus’ battles with mythical creatures and the wrath of the gods, his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus fight to hold off suitors, who want to marry Penelope, and behold the throne of Ithaka.

The Odyssey should be given credit for its mass amount of geographical information, and use of an attention grabbing theme. It involves a hero and who is trying to make his way home to his family, and throne. The from uses dactylic hexameter, which is a form of rhythmic tempo within poetry. It includes 6 foot lines where every foot has either a long syllable followed by two short ones (this is called a dactyl), or just two more long syllables (this is called a spondee). The first four feet can either be a dactyl or a spondee, and the fifth is usually a dactyl.

I found the Odyssey interesting for it’s form and use of suspense. Many detailed parts of the book seemed like they could have been left out to keep the reader engaged in the action. It took a long time to reach the end goal, and the ending was ruined by the potential of another war. The interruption of Odysseus’ reunion with his family seemed unnecessary to me. The repeating of the characters traits such as: “grey eyed Athena” was irritating. It’s inclusion of themes such as seduction, paradise, death, and temptation were fascinating as they reflect the problems of modern day humanity. The idea that there may never be a paradise that can satisfy every individual therefore being a form of death within itself was engrossing.

In conclusion, the Odyssey is not a horrible book. However, it is not something I would recommend to readers (especially millennials) as it is very extensive, and doesn’t seem to have enough of a connection with the modern world.

WDolan English Paradise and Death

There are many things I learned about the Odyssey from the ‘Paradise and Death’ literary analysis.  There is a restless dissatisfaction with the pleasures of paradise and the inability to fully experience every fantasy life in paradise brings.  I observed and made note of how the author starts explaining the meaning and significance of the title right at the beginning.  This is a great tool for writing, as it is important for the reader to gain a summarized approach to the literary analysis first, to keep them engaged.

I learned about the main aspects included within the definition of death in the Odyssey. I liked how the author explains the meaning of each word included in the title. He begins with paradise, and then debunks his points with contradictory comments about death. I was amused by the way he was debating with himself about his previous mentions of paradise and death, and making sure to look at all viewpoints on the topic he was analysing.

The author also mixes the theme of paradise and death by mentioning how certain aspects of death do not exist without paradise since paradise is a form of death within itself. He references how Odysseus is in paradise when he sees his mother, but is really dead since she vanishes when he goes to hug her.  This situation strongly references the story of Sisyphus, and how every time he rolls the rock to the top of the hill, it suddenly rolls back down the hill, causing Sisyphus to start over again. I re-learned how good writing requires extra emphasis on important points, to persuade the reader to believe the statements you make. A great example of this is when the author returns to the subject of how death requires paradise, and writes about how living in the past is a form if death within itself, since we would not be able to experience other pleasures in the future.

I learned how Odysseus takes Penélopê for granted since she is mortal. He also uses Kalypso as a sort of medicine for his feelings, and would not be “so dissatisfied” with her if Penélopê was immortal. This then transitions into the thought of a paradise where we can love anyone we want.

I observed how paradise and death were linked again through the mentions of how to live forever would be to not live at all, and how paradises are a form of death when they pretend adversities don’t exist.

I liked how the conclusion mixes Homer’s world with our current world, and how human nature has not changed over the course of 2000 years. All paradises have their conflicts and forms of death. Our modern world contains pleasures such as technology, but when used offensively against others, it causes a physical and mental death.

English Blog Post September 27th 2020

My chosen question is:

 Does Antigone match Aristotle’s description of a tragedy?


There are many elements an author has to cover in order to make a successful tragedy. In order to write in the  correct form for a tragedy, you need the information as follows:

  • Play must have catharsis (purification and exclusion of emotions)
  • A tragic hero
  • A change in destiny within a character
  • Must be poetic
  • Needs to take place in a single day
  • Obtain in one location
  • All events are required to be closely related to one other

There are many components writers ought be aware of when creating a tragedy, but the main focus is to exhilarate two emotions: Pity and Fear.

Within the words pity and fear, you may be able to understand why tragedies occur in on place, or develop in one day. If a character (i.e the tragic hero, or protagonist) is afraid of meeting their fate, they may not want to leave their current location.  If a character is pitying a loss over someone committing suicide (which happens frequently in tragedies) then they may also commit suicide to add more drama to the play.

In conclusion, there are multiple ways to write a play. This  comprises of the theme, location, etc. The most important element for a tragedy is to keep the structure the same as Aristotle’s definition.