Saturday, May 2, 2009
I can't imagine a world where there was no literature. It is so important to the understanding of life and of other people. Poetry is beautiful but also with purpose. Poets have a great idea to express but must do so with few words. These words have to be perfect; not one word is wasted or forgotten when the poet writes and the reader understands. People in love write poems about love and those who don't know love can feel through another person's words. Those growing old write about time and regret. The young can read their poems and understand them and respect them. A foreigner living in America can write about his/her experience being among people from all different cultures and feeling lost. Those who have ever felt lost in a crowd can read this and relate. No matter if it's poetry, short stories, articles, or novels, they are all significant to the understanding of life.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
The speaker in Eliot's poem is a man who walks down a street and contemplates life, much like anyone does lost in their thoughts. His thoughts and visions are made of aging and inaction. His first image is of the eveing when he states "you and I" should go out when "When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherized upon a table." This image evokes helplessness. A patient is given drugs and anesthesia and laid out however the doctors need him to be displayed on the operating table. When a person is out, he has no idea what is happening to him. Hours and days can go buy and the patient will have no recollection of what happened to him. He then describes this yellow fog as though it were a cat rubbing itself against the city. He talks about how he will have a bald spot on his head and his limbs will be weak and thin. He then contemplates people talking about him. It seems as though he regrets much in his life. Like Hamlet his greatest flaw is the inability to act. He cannot approach women so he is alone. As one gets older they can look at the future and death is closer everyday. A person can also look back at the good and bad memories and can recall the mistakes he made and regrets of lost time.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
While Christina Rossetti claims her narrative poem "The Goblin Market" is merely a child's tale, critics disagree with her. Many believe the story of Laura and Lizzie is a feminist outcry. It also can be compared to Adam and Even and the forbidden fruit. There are even some who compare Laura's thirst for the forbidden fruit to drug addiction. Laura and Lizzie are young sisters who live alone. They seem happy. But one day they hear the cries of the Goblin men trying to sell their ripe fruit. For a lock of Laura's hair, she tastes the sweet fruit of the Goblins. Lizzie and Laura are quite different in personalities. Lizzie seems to take on the mother figure, diligently doing the chores and warning Laura of the evil magic of the Goblins. Laura eventually wants more fruit but can't seem to hear or see the Goblin men. Laura, on the other hand, can because she has not tasted the fruit yet. The Goblin men and their fruit represent the sexual passion real men hae in reality. When Lizzie warns Laura of their fruit, she is warning her to stay away from men. Men will tell you lies to get what they want. They will make a girl give up the only thing that made them special and worth anything, their virginity. Lizzie even brings up the young girl who tasted the fruit and eventually wasted away and died alone. Laura seeks into a depression and Lizzie feels she will die if she doesn't do something about it. So Lizzie goes to buy some of the fruit from the Goblins. But they only want Lizzie to eat the fruit. They try to force her to eat it. The ripe juice from the fruit soaks her face yet she doesn't drink it. This can be considered Lizzie, a good strong Christinan, obstaining from committing this sin of eating the forbidden fruit, or some may see it as Lizzie being strong enough to deny the passions of men. She is even beaten by the Goblins, which can represent the devil trying to get Lizzie to fall into sin. But Lizzie is strong. So strong, she goes home and lets her weak sister lick the juice off her face. She cures her sister of her addiction.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
I find it incredibly intriguing and creative that poets can write about mermaids in the sea and relate it to religion somehow. During the Victorian Age, Christianity was being questioned. In this poem Arnold is stating that religion and imagination cannot exist together. In the beginning the Merman is telling the children to call Margaret once more before they leave. Margaret is a woman who lives on the land. She once would play with them but she won't some see them anymore. Obviously this image of Margaret and the Merman is only in Margaret's imagination. But the children call her and call her and she never comes. She left them because she heard her church's bell ring. It was Easter time and she had to go pray. She says to the Merman, "I lose my soul, Merman, here with thee." The Merman and the children proceed to go to the church and find Margaret. They peek in the windows of the church and see that her "eyes were seal'd to the holy book" and would not look at them even when they called to her. The priest prays loud so no one can hear them. When they leave she goes about her business spinning her wheel. But when she looks out at the sea it makes her sad. The Merman says she is a cruel and faithless mortal and he will forever rule the sea alone. The Merman and the children represent her active imagination and what makes her happy. But she fears losing her soul if she continues to dream up these fantasies. For a writer, blocking one's imagination is a death sentence. They feed of their imagination. But if you believe in something that is not contained in the Bible, you must not be devout. People didn't like the magic in Harry Potter. Though it was all fun and games, people saw the use of magic as evil witchcraft and would not let their children see it. There are some that believe in ghosts or other things in this world that have no explanation. You cannot believe in those things because they are not explained. Seeing proof of the afterlife is saying you don't trust that there is one.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
I do not agree with those individuals who state that an author's work has nothing to do with the author's life. Shelley was well aware of the mistreatment of women in her time. One would assume she would have standout female characters that challenged society's view on women's roles at the time. However, Shelley takes a different approach. Instead of having a heroic female character, she has several complacent females who represent the kind of stereotypes found during her time. Elizabeth is the woman adopted by Victor's mother and the intended wife of Victor. His mother comes home with something "beautiful" for her son. It is just accepted that Elizabeth will marry him. She waits and waits until Victor finally marries her but is unaware that a monster he created is stalking and killing his loved ones. He won't even divulge his secret until they are married. In the end she is a victim to the monster's revenge. Justine is another victim in this novel. She is accused of murdering William, the brother of Victor. The real murderer is the monster and Victor knows this. However, he does not say a word and Justine is put to death. Caroline is Victor's mother. She spends her life waiting on Victor's father. She takes in Elizabeth when she is young and contracts scarlet fever and dies. Her life had no great purpose. Even Victor's female monster he was going to create is discarded because he was afraid the monsters might have children together. So he dumps the body and never creates an Eve, a helpmate for his Adam.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
In Percy Shelley's "Hym to Intellectual Beauty" the speaker writes about how Beauty has left "our state" and wants to know where it has gone. He says it will "wax and wane in lovers’ eyes—Thou—that to human thought art nourishment, Like darkness to a dying flame!" It is interesting that he says it comes in the form of a shadow. There are many definitions of what a shadow may represent. It can be darkness, shelter and protection like "being in the shadow of a church." It can be an indistinct image, a mere semblance of something. When he is a young boy he would go conjuring spirits in woods and caves. One day that shadow of Beauty was above him and he was in ecstasy. It never says here that he saw anything. He was just in ecstasy. This means it was a feeling this shadow gave him that made him feel extreme happiness. So Beauty is not something one can go looking for in physical objects or in a face. It cannot be sought after or caught. And it waxes and wanes like the moon, ever changing. Intellectual Beauty is the feeling one creates in their own mind. One can never "have" Beauty but can feel it.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
William Blake uses his literary skill to protest against the nobility, the church, and the mistreatment of children. He used his poetry as social commentary. In William Blake's "Chimney Sweeper" he writes about a child who is sold by his father to work as a chimney sweeper. He is sold so early he can't even fight or voice his opinion. He is like a slave. There are other boys in the poem like Tom. Tom dreams that all the boys are in coffins until an Angel comes and rescues them. He is told if he is good, he will have a better Father, God. So when the child wakes up he works hard so God will love him. This child believes in his dreams, which shows his innocense. It also speaks out against religion. The idea that someone is watching over the child makes the child work harder and give him a better outlook in life. Though he may be happier, his circumstances have not changed. But he believes in the fantastic, like all children do. In Blake's "The Garden of Love" he speaks about how a church was built where love used to be and flowers have been replaced with headstones. "Thou shalt not" has been written on the chapel doors. Blake sees religion as the cause of death, not life or love. He sees religion as a hindrance of all things that come natural to man. All the pleasures in life are denied to him. What joy is there in that? In "London" Blake speaks about how all the city's men, women, and children are crying out because of their current state of life in London. The chartered streets and river can be seen as the nobility taking over public domain. The soldier's blood on the palace walls is stating these men die for the upper classes. The prostitute spreads her diseases to men and the men spread them to their blushing brides. The city is in turmoil.