Lying has finally reached its end and Lauren has been through a difficult journey that she feels will begin as it ended, “I was born from nothing and to nothing I will return” (169). She has been through many dramatic experiences that have changed her and that have molded her into a unique individual. Although it has been years since her epilepsy has affected her physically the effects of her ailment still troubled her mentally.
She still craves to have attention put on her and will refrain from any setting that does not provide what she desires, “I stopped going to classes. They were all in lecture halls, and I was not noticed. No one thought me special” (172). This lack of attention and drive pushes her into a form of depression that prompted for serious soul searching. Her sole peace now in her life was the single institution that has raised her spirits in the past and that has been the Catholic Church, “I visited churches, because they were soothing to me and could possibly take the place of professional counseling” (177). With the help of a church she is seen to have received the help that she truly deserves. All her life Lauren wanted compassion, attention, and freedom but from a positive influence. Sure throughout the story she has received these pleasures and more but as a result of lying, “You know, Dr. Neu, all those seizures I had right before the operation? I brought a lot of them all myself, because I liked the attention” (201). Thanks to the church she learned how to let go and fall so that way she can rise to be a better person an honest true person, “When we give up our desires, when we are willing to sit in emptiness, our new beings are born” (195). Overall this was a beautiful story of how a person can overcome their own struggles to live a life worth striving to have that is better than what she started out with.
Lauren has seemed to really have matured over the story thanks greatly to the surgery. Sadly although her seizures have greatly been reduced her auras have been strengthened and have in a way replaced her seizure episodes, “The auras were feelings and tastes, delights and despairs, and they wrapped me totally for the time they lasted” (110).
Although this was a new occurrence in her life she managed to still live a better life than what she original started with before the operation. Her auras worked like her seizures, traveling throughout her body, but in a more internal experience that helped to her explore her sexual side even though she was very quiet about the matter, “I was seventeen, but matters of sex so embarrassed me that I could only speak of our God-given anatomy in terms like ‘you know where,’ and ‘down there” (111). There was a positive aspect to her auras and it was that, like her seizures, it would send her into a new world the world of a writer. She became so passionate about her writing she even participated in a writer’s conference where she even reveals to a select few on how her writing came to be, “I told them about my preseizure auras, and how it was in an aura that I discovered my creativity” (119).
Her aura influenced writing garnered the attention of Christopher Marin, “very famous, with two books under his belt and a Guggenheim” (119). Sadly due to her condition it was very hard for to develop true social skills which resulted in her failed relationship with this author that was based solely on sexually compulsive behavior, “Every three weeks we met in motels in Vermont. Our encounters were seedy, our sex on synthetic carpets, polyester bedspreads, a Gideons Bible in the nightstand drawer” (149). Although emotionally broken she manages to persevere and move forward, “If only I could learn to live here, in the chasm he cut, in the void out of which our world was born, if only I could. I can.” (158). Thankfully this is an inevitable outcome due to the fact that her work ‘The Cherry Tree’ has been accepted for publication.
As the story of Lying continues forward the author grows into a more interesting subject. In the very beginning pages Lauren is stricken with epilepsy but as time progresses she embraces it in many unimaginable ways. She has used it for her for own advantages both pure and otherwise.
For one instance she even used her ailment along with police to get away from her own mother, “The law states,’ the policeman said, ‘that if we deem a child to be in imminent danger, we must place her in the custody of social services” (43). She chose to see life beyond her mother but it was only during her time at Saint Christopher, the special school with the nuns, that she found true freedom. It was there she learned to fall, to live with illness, and not fall prey to it. She learned valuable lessons one being, “That is only by entering emptiness and ugliness, not by covering it up with feathers and sprays, that you find a balance so true, no one can take it away” (53). She draws on her epilepsy as a means of making her life different, but sadly all things must have their end.
As she got older her seizures would get worse and worse which caused her struggles to live a normal life. As her condition grew more difficult so did her desire to fit in with the popular crowd, “At that point, I was still trying to outrun my seizures, and thought I might accomplish that by being mean” (65). Even though she would have her moments of glory it was still not enough for her to enjoy life and so she continued to play on other’s sympathies to raise her status. She would even stoop as low as too over exaggerate her condition, “Epilepsy causes cancer. She believed it. She invited me to her party lickety –split, and Haskell Crocker danced with me, and Danny Harris held my hand, and every girl brought me pink punch” (66).
If Lauren has epilepsy I truly feel sorry for her but not for obvious reasons. I do not feel sorry that she has the illness but I feel sorry that she lost sight on how to appreciate her life although stricken with this handicap.
This story starts off with the author using
imagery to provide very descriptive points in her life, “The summer I turned
ten I smelled jasmine everywhere I went” (4). To those who suffer from epilepsy
find it hard to live a normal life but not for Lauren, she is able to use
epilepsy to her advantage. She explains that her epilepsy gave her a chance to escape
the normal world, “My world, though, was the jasmine world, and I told no one
about it” (5). Although Lauren suffers from the effects of epilepsy her true
issue is her mother who acts as the one in charge in her family. Even though
she saw her daughter suffer she still pushed her to achieve her own greatness,
“Stop staring into space, ‘Get out there and do something” (9). Lauren’s mother
doesn’t appreciate the severity of her daughter’s ailment, “my mother thought I
was doomed, which, in her scheme of things, was much better than being
mediocre” (10). The worse part about this is that Lauren is letting her mother
rule her in the hopes it will make her happy. Lauren wants to make her mother
happy but notices that her mother tries to put herself up on an imaginary
pedestal to avoid being compared to others. She sees that her mother truly
wants an escape, “I could tell she wanted to, though, the same way I could tell
she secretly longed to walk with me in the woods, to take in soil, to sleep the
heavy, sweaty sleep of the rude and the relaxed” (16). I feel that as the story
progresses these two will go through a serious journey that may enlighten them
to the other’s view of life.
Humbert has finally met his end emotionally with the end of the story of Lolita. His greatest fear realized, Lolita escaped his grasps and ventured away from him. This personal tragedy transforms him from the strategic intellectual to a cold hearted man driven by vengeance. He treks backwards from his travels with Lolita to catch up with her and kill his brother for the treacherous act, “A thousand-mile stretch of silk-smooth road separated Kasbeam, where, to the best of my belief, the red fiend had been scheduled to appear for the first time, and fateful Elphinstone which we had reached about a week before Independence Day” (247).
Humbert truly loves his Lolita and his passion for her is what drives him to search for her over the long three years. Without her by his side he grows ever more uneasy “Solitude was corrupting me. I needed company and care” (258). This is due greatly in part to fact that Lolita is virtually the only person that Humbert has any true feelings for and the only person he has been himself towards rather than put up a front. Once she sends him the letter asking for help he quickly rushes to find her to take her back and away from whatever life she has made for herself. Alas he catches up with her at her new home and begs that she come back “I want you to leave your incidental Dick, and this awful hole, and come to live with me, and die with me, and everything with me” (278). She rejects him and lets him know that there was no way she would ever return to a life with him. This is what destroys Humbert Humbert “I covered my face with my hand and broke into the hottest tears I have ever shed” (279). His love for Lolita has been put into question many times since the beginning of the story but now with its end it is evident that he loved Lolita not the nymphet but the individual at heart.
Lolita has truly developed throughout parts one and two of the story thus far. She has grown from a mere child victim of a sick predator to a cunning young woman capable of manipulation. From the beginning Lolita has been seen as a puppet controlled by Humbert and strung along to whatever he says and does, “From the very beginning of our concourse, I was clever enough to realize that I must secure her complete co-operation in keeping our relations secret, “ (149).
He has forced-fed her the notion that she is in fact better off with him than anyone else, “In plainer words, if we two are found out, you will be analyzed and institutionalized, my pet,” (151). With this in my mind Lolita is attached to Humbert, for better or worse, as they continue on their travels and this is in fact a possible conception for Lolita’s future mind games. She has spent a great deal of time with a master manipulator that in fact she may have learned a trick or two from her stepfather/lover. For it is when they finally settle in Beardsley that we see a new Lolita, a new puppet master. Humbert intends for the two to live like an ordinary family on the surface while they are lovers in secrecy. Now Lolita is a school girl finally back in the world of society and the more she explores the more she works her way out of Humbert’s clutches. He provides her with allowances like any father would give their child but since he craves his little nymphet he gives her extra money, lets her have a gift, or certain privileges of a teenage girl for her sensual touch, “for sixty-five cents plus the permission to participate in the school play, had Dolly put her inky, chalky, red-knuckled hand under the desk” (198). Lolita has him wrapped around her finger and with every gesture she gains more control that it begins to frighten him, “But I was weak, I was not wise, my schoolgirl nymphet had me in thrall. With the human element dwindling, the passion, the tenderness, and the torture only increased; and of this she took advantage” (183). Lolita controls Humbert with through his insatiable appetite for his little nymphet and this will be his downfall; this will be her key to freedom.
All this time we have seen Humbert Humbert scheme and plot to get Lolita in his clutches. Every day he would dedicate his time to perfecting his plan to steal her away from the world, “My scheme was a marvel of primitive art: I would whizz over to Camp Q, tell Lolita her mother was about to undergo a major operation at an invented hospital, and then keep moving with my sleepy nymphet from inn to inn while her mother got better and better and finally died” (106). The reader sees Humbert as a sick monster that desires nothing more than to consume her and that Lolita is too naïve to realize.
Sadly this is not true not only is Lolita aware of Humbert’s advances but she also embraces it. It is almost as if they both believe they are in fact lovers even though their love is deemed wrong by the rest of the world, “Say, wouldn’t Mother be absolutely mad if she found out we were lovers?” (114). There is in fact more to Lolita than what we all have been made to believe. All this affection that he has given to her has sat inside of her until the moment was right and he stole her away. Lolita, in secret from everyone including Humbert, has developed a love for him that is so strong that there “relationship” is in fact serious, “Fact I’ve been revoltingly unfaithful to you, but it does not matter one bit, because you’ve stopped caring for me, anyway” (112). Although they are different ages their love for each other, although sick and amoral, is almost beautiful. They are almost made for each other, two people driven by lust and impartial to any consequences that may follow.
To most readers Humbert Humbert is seen as a sexual predator who seeks nothing more than to satisfy his lust for Lolita. He is a man viewed simply as possessed by intense cravings but in my opinion he is much more than what mere observations suggest.
He is calm, patient and, strategic not only in his quest for Lolita, but for how he deals with the aspects of everyday life, people, and etc. He always knew how to stay one step ahead of everyone and was delighted in his obvious victory. Take for instance when he registered himself into a sanatorium due to a bout with insanity and found rejuvenation at the expense of the psychiatrists, “I discovered there was an endless source of robust enjoyment in trifling with psychiatrists: cunningly leading them on; never letting them see that you know all the tricks of the trade” (34). Next is to examine how he manages ensure a permanent spot in the home of Charlotte and Lolita. Lolita’s mother confesses her love to Humbert and sees it as his golden ticket to get what he wants, “when Monsieur wants to get the whole damned thing over with as quickly as possible, and Madame gives in with a tolerant smile; then, my reader, the wedding is generally a “quiet” affair” (74). Even though this is her moment of happiness he has such control of everything that it goes exactly how he wants. Another example is when she asks if the two may go on a trip to England and sets her straight on the matter on why he is against going and he should be taken seriously. Humbert holds such a position to her that she drops to her knees, “She said I was her ruler and her god” (91). He holds no true love for this woman and yet she follows his every word.
The story shows the readers, in my opinion, how Humbert is playing a game of chess. He is strategically plotting and making every move in order to get what he wants. Although he is a sick man on a, morally deemed, horrible mission his genius is admirable.
Paradise is the home to peace, prosperity, and happiness for its entire people. This style of living is the dream of many who wish to escape a life that includes suffering and hardship. There are those who would give up anything for a chance to live in paradise, but what is the right price for living in paradise?
I personally felt disgusted while reading this story and it was aimed more towards the people who cherished “the nobility of their architecture, the poignancy of their music, the profundity of their science” (p6). All of this at the expense of a suffering child, with no friends, no family, no true home except for “a basement under one of the beautiful public buildings of Omelas, or perhaps in the cellar of one of its spacious private homes, there is a room. It has one locked door, and no window” (p4). Sure there is a common belief that the needs of the many outweigh the need of the one but what at what cost should this be taken literal. Here we have a child who has no determined gender, age, and no apparent memory of its condition. The people of Omelas know why this child lives in such a hell, “They all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child’s abominable misery” (p5). These people remain content at the scale of this exchange.
The ones who walk away from Omelas, I feel, are the just ones they know that paradise is not worth the lifelong suffering of a poor child. They would rather return back to the outside world and endure equal suffering than let a child suffer alone for one more day.
This story is truly an example why a person, especially if you are medical physician, should never ignore a cry for help from someone who truly needs it. A person suffering from a nervous breakdown is a serious condition and should be treated as such. The mental state of a person suffering from this condition is so low that any little thing could trigger a drastic episode.
Take for instance the woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper” who is recovering from a nervous breakdown. She is aware that she is not well and clearly wishes to be well again but her husband John is choosing to ignore her plea. She herself is baffled at her husband for his negligence, “If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression- a slight hysterical tendency what is one to do?” (p746). It is clear that she feels so alone due to her troubles since she spends every day of her treatment in seclusion inside the “atrocious nursery” (p748). She cannot even depend on her own husband who is away most nights due to his other more serious cases but in my opinion I feel that tending to his wife should be his main priority. He feels that his position gives him superiority and that outweighs any opposition even his wife’s own voice. She is convinced of how drunk he is off his own ego, “John does not know how much I really suffer. He knows there is no reason to suffer, and that satisfies him” (p748). Thanks to his absence his wife’s conditions worsens and she becomes a victim of her own twisted mind. If he had given her more attention she would have never become obsessed with the yellow wallpaper in the nursery so much that she joins with it, “But here I can creep smoothly on the floor, and my shoulder just fits in that long smooch around the wall, so I cannot lose my way” (p756). John fainting at the end of the story is perfect for he realizes how much he has failed and it is too much for him to bear.