Posted in Literary Analysis

Not Merely “Two lovely berries molded on one stem”

In A Midsummer’s Night Dream by William Shakespeare, the main character of the play are almost interchangeable, adding to the delightful confusion and hilarity of the play. Hermia and Helena the two main women from the play, are almost as difficult to distinguish as there names, however, distinguishing characteristics do exists. Continue reading “Not Merely “Two lovely berries molded on one stem””

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Posted in Literary Analysis

The sympathy of a character: “The Story of an Hour” compared to “A Sorrowful Woman”

In Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”, Mrs. Mallard, for all intents and purposes, is a women trapped by circumstance. The circumstance of her time, and the society she resides in. She lives in a world where women get married and stayed married; despite their marital bliss—present or otherwise. She is a young woman, who has barely lived her life, and due to the constraints of her society feels imprisoned in her marriage. Her husband was described to be a perfectly acceptable man who “never looked save with love upon her” (16). Mrs. Mallard is trapped in a kind marriage, but a marriage nonetheless. At first, Mrs. Mallard is thoroughly distraught by the death of her husband but as time passes, something changes, “she felt it, creeping out of the sky” and feeling of freedom and relief (15). This was a rather startling reaction, clearly, only a cold, heartless women would have “monstrous joy” at the loss of a spouse (16). Continue reading “The sympathy of a character: “The Story of an Hour” compared to “A Sorrowful Woman””

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The Power of Description as seen in Faulkner’s “Barn Burning”

Description is a powerful tool, it can be used to give an understanding of location, to paint a picture, and to bring forth characteristics in unique and fantastic ways. Using description allows an author to reveal hidden qualities without bluntly stating them. In William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning”, we are given a further understanding of the character of Abner by means of his physical description through the eyes of his ten-year-old son.

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Paralyzing Fear: “The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock

Making decisions is one of the most difficult things to do in life, there are so many factors to consider, so many consequences, and in T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” the speaker is paralyzed by these decisions. Prufrock is a gentleman who considers himself to be worthless, he perceives himself to be of little to no value and as such can’t even conceive that someone else would cherish him. This dour self-image he has of himself cripples his ability to interact with the world. Prufrock says, “Do I dare/ Disturb the universe?” (ll. 45-46). Continue reading “Paralyzing Fear: “The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock”

Posted in About me, Literary Analysis

“Death Be Not Proud” resonates with my own thoughts on mortality

“Death Be Not Proud” by John Donne, expresses a vivid portrayal of death, and what influence Donne thinks it should have over one’s life. To Donne death is a pitiable thing, he laughs and taunts at it, “For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow/ Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me” (ll.3-4). He claims rather straightforwardly the death literally has no power over him, he, however, is not saying he cannot die, on the contrary, he very firmly knows of the temporary nature of one’s existence. Continue reading ““Death Be Not Proud” resonates with my own thoughts on mortality”

Posted in Literary Analysis

Religious Ambiguity: Predestination in Doctor Faustus

A defining quality of humanity is our curiosity, our overwhelming desire to explain and understand the world around us. Our ambition for knowledge has lead our world into the Age of Information. Many people enjoy comprehending concepts, coming to neat and tidy conclusions; we strongly dislike ambiguity and uncertainty. Even today, the fear of the unknown sways our actions, and keeps us searching for answers. In the year 1604, The Tragical Life of Doctor Faustus was first published; in 1616 a second version was released, and from it’s conception the ideas behind Doctor Faustus have captured the minds of viewers and critics. Christopher Marlowe crafted a brilliant script full of the desire for knowledge, deals with devils, and the question of what it means to truly repent. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on the reader, no clear answer can be extracted from Marlowe’s work. Doctor Faustus is full of ambiguity and conflict which leads to questions about what moral lesson Marlowe is trying to imbue his audience with. The idea of repentance in Doctor Faustus is the most ambiguous of all, and one must consider the conflicting religious viewpoints that would have impacted the creation of Faustus and the question of what Marlowe’s own beliefs were. The political conflict and religious ambiguity of the time Marlowe lived in heavily influenced the outcome of the manuscript The Tragical Life of Doctor Faustus, and has lead to many theories and debates over Faustus’ damnation and struggle for repentance. The opposing views of the time lead to conflicting ideas on predestination, salvation, and the power of devils.

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Posted in Literary Analysis

Commodification in Volpone by Ben Jonson

Every character plays a role, be it for good or bad, the protagonist, or the antagonist, or merely the support. They have a purpose and a part to play. In Volpone by Ben Jonson, as one of the two female characters in the play, the character of Celia plays an interesting role. The part she plays is that of the victim, her overwhelming innocence and beauty are intensified to enhance our sympathy for her plight. She is used as an extreme and the most obvious example of the theme of the commodification of the body that Ben Jonson is trying to present.

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Posted in Literary Analysis

The flaws of the Tenant Farmer System as portrayed in “The Second Shepherd’s Play”

The life of a shepherd portrayed in “The Second Shepherd’s Play” is a harsh one. Ruled over by their landowners, these tenant farmers slave away daily. The unknown author, referred to as the Wakefield Master, depicts an unforgiving lifestyle, Coll the shepherd complaining of his plight in the cold.

But we sely husbands

That walks on the moor,

In faith we are nearhands

Out of the door.

(ll.14-17)

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Posted in Literary Analysis

A Man of…the People?

In Geoffrey Chaucer’s, “General Prologue”, the Miller is described as a rather large, sturdy man, stout and thick, the type of man who “always won the ram at wrestling matches” (l.550) His features are described as wide, a wide nose, and a wide mouth, and a wide red beard, it gives the impression of a rather broad stretched out face. The most startling description is of a wart on his nose, that Chaucer mentions has red hair’s growing from it. A chatter, and tale teller, his stories of choice were usually about “sin and ribaldry” (l.563). He also was a talented bagpipe player.

chaucer1

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Posted in Literary Analysis

A Knight of…the people?

In Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The General Prologue”, the narrator tells us of the many pilgrims who plan to journey to Canterbury. Many characters are vividly described and clues about their character and persona are revealed. Throughout the various tales, many characters reappeared to add their opinions, agreeing or disagreeing heartily with whatever is being said, further developing their character. The Knight is the first pilgrim to be described, and he is afforded this honor due to his noble birth, being the only character of aristocracy in this group. The narrator seems to have a deep admiration for the knight,

a valiant man,

who, from the time when he had first begun

to ventured out, had loved chivalry,

truth and honor, liberality and courtesy.

(ll. 43-46)

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