Category Archives: Project #1

My Artist Soul

“We should call this place the cottagette.” Malda said.

“Why not? It is for too small for a house, too pretty for a hut, too unusual for a cottage.” I said.

“Cottagette, by all means,” said Lois, seating herself on a porch chair. “But it is a larger than it looks, Mr.Mathews. How do you like it, Malda?”

This so called Cottagette looks like it going to be a cozy and comfortable environment for them to work in. Malda and Lois should be able to have fresh clear thoughts on coming up with great ideas for their work. This should help their artistic minds flourish.

“How about meals?” said Lois

“Its just over yonder, not two minutes walk,” I said; I showed them a little furtive path between the trees to the place where meals were furnished.

As we walked and talked, it seems like Lois was a little skeptical about the place. Like she was not use to this particular environment and is still stuck in the urban area. However, Malda seem to be very fond of this place and adapted to this environment so quickly, as if she has been here for ages. I think she’s really going to like here.

I remember being with them at “High Court”. It was a place that was a summer school of music.

Malda always show a way of how passionate she was as an artist. When I use to sit and watch her come up with her creative idea in “The Calceolaria” to show Lois, she was so amazed with her work. Her eyes was wide open with a smile for ear to ear. However, there would be times that it look like she had doubt in herself and something was holding her back.

Lois was there to help push and guide her through. But it never seems like that was enough. There were times Lios, Malda and I would just use music to help us keep our minds focus on our work. We all like music, which was a powerful statement to us.

I asked her if she would work with me on a piece for a project about her interest in art. But, it never came about.

I would come over to their place and sit with them on the porch to discuss ideas. Also during the daytimes, I would go on long walks with them. We would find our way back to my cave for tea, made on a gipsy fire.

In spending time with Malda and Lois, I became very interested in Malda. I thought she was interested in me too. She started to ask me things such as what are my goals in life, the work I have done, and what were my accomplishments. Don’t get me wrong, they are accomplishments but only the beginning. I told her this was all like cutting steps in the ice-wall. It had to be done, but the road was long ahead.

Malda did not think of her work as it was important like Lois’s. She considered it more as a hobby or as if she was doing it in her spare time. I thought her work was exquisite. Someone would consider it as a simple piece but my eye saw something else with Malda’s work that was extreme.

One afternoon Malda and I were talking in my cave while we were drinking tea.

“Where are you from?” Malda said.

I replied. “My family are good western farming people. They’ve been there for many years, so technically we are considered as ‘real Americans’. Growing up on a farm I helped my family feed and clean our animals. By growing crops and catching water from the well. Many days I spent time herding the animals and gathering the many vegetables and crops for supper.”

She was so enthused looking into my eyes, cherishing every word I said. As if she was amazed of where I came from. I had a strong feeling that she was falling for me-and I was falling for her.

I realized the feeling was  mutual for me too because I became comfortable with her and talking about my life. I thought to myself what it be like to have a relationship and home with Malda being I did not know a home since I was eighteen.

Later on, I ran into Lois on my way to food court.

She said, “Does this remind you good home cooking and doesn’t it make you  slightly feel home sick?”

I told her, “I never known a home since I was eighteen.”

One day when I came over to the cottagette and I noticed a kitchen was installed into the place. Ever since then, I was able to go over to the cottagette for a home cooked meal. It was pleasant to know that I was able to drop in knowing there would always be food. But I noticed Malda was only paying attention to cooking and cleaning. Her artwork ethnicity started to change and was not desirable as it was before.

Malda was an excellent baker, I especially liked her whole wheat bread, hot rolls and gems. I really liked them and other people seem to like them too. There were so many other people coming over to eat supper. There would be so many dishes, I would purposely not help her, hoping it would stop her from cooking and baking. For some reason this never deterred her from making another meal the next evening.

The cottagette was a place that always seem to be busy, full with people and food. Lois mom came over to visit assisting in keeping the place in order. She would have the broom in one hand and duster in the other. Constantly going over the place which seemed quite unnecessary.

I started to come over more and became very close to Malda.

I told Lois, I really enjoyed spending time with her, she is great at cooking and cleaning but most of all I cherished her artistic view.

“Do you really really care for her?” Lois asked inquisitively.

“I really do!” I said without hesitating.

One day I came over early and asked Malda to go up Hugh’s Peak with me.

“But what’s today? Monday. Isn’t it washing day? Theres much to do.” Malda said.

“Never mind that,” I said, “what’s washing day or ironing day or any of that old foolishness to us? This is walking day–that’s what it is.”

The walk took the whole day, Malda enjoyed herself which I was hoping she would.

It was a refreshing day with a slight cool breeze from this summer night. It wouldn’t have been a better day to go.

“Come along!” I said. “We can see as far as Patch Mountain I’m sure. There’ll never be a better day.”

“Is anyone else going?” Malda asked.

“Not a soul. It’s just us. Come.”

She came happily, “Wait, let me put up a lunch.” She said.

“I’ll wait just long enough for you to put on knickers and a short skirt.” said I. “The lunch is all in the basket on my back. I know how long it takes for you women to put up sandwiches and things.”

Malda was pretty pleased with my cooking.

“It tasted better than my own cooking.” She confessed.

I took her down to the spring on a broad ledge to make tea as we normally would do. I wanted her to see the beauty of the sun set, while the moon rises into the sky. And then I turned to her.

“Would you be my wife?”

She looked ecstatic.

“But there’s a condition!” I exclaimed. “You mustn’t cook!”

“What!” said she. Mustn’t cook?”

“No,” said I. “you must give it up–for my sake.”

She looked dumbfounded.

“Yes, I know all about it,” I told. Lois told me. I’ve seen a good deal of Lois since you’ve taken cooking. And since I would talk about you, naturally I learned a lot. She told me how you were brought up, and how strong your domestic instincts were–but bless your artistic soul dear girl, you have some others!” I smiled, “surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.”

“I’ve watched you, dear, all summer,” I went on, “It doesn’t agree with you.”

“Of course the things taste good– but so do my things! I’m a good cook myself. My father was a cook, for years–at good wages. I’m used to it you see.”

“One summer when I was hard up I cooked for a living and saved money instead of starving.”

“O ho!” she said shockingly. “that accounts for the tea and the lunch!”

“And lots of other things,” said I. “But you haven’t done half as much of your lovely work since you started this kitchen business, and you’ll  forgive me, dear, it hasn’t been as good. Your work is too good to lose; it is a beautiful and distinctive art, and don’t want you to let it go. What would you think of me if I gave up my long hard years of writing for the easy competence of a well-paid cook!”

She said there quietly as if she was thinking and processing everything I have just said. “But you want to marry me?”

“I want to marry you, Malda,–because I love you–because you are young and strong and beautiful–because you are wild and sweet and fragrant and elusive, like the wildflowers you love. Because you are so truly an artist in your own special way, seeing beauty and giving it to others. I love you because of all of this, because you are rational and high minded and capable of friendship,–and in spite of your cooking.

She asked, “But–how do we want to live?”

“As we did here–at first,” I said. “There was peace, exquisite silence. There was beauty–nothing but beauty. There were the clean wood odors and flowers and fragrances and sweet wild wind. And there was you–your fair self, always delicately dress, with white firm finger sure of touch in delicate true work. I loved you then. When you took to cooking it jarred on me. I have been a cook, I tell you, and know what it is. I hated it to see my wood-flower in a kitchen.”

“But Lois told me about how you were brought up to it and loved it and I said to myself, ‘I love this women; I’ll wait to see if I love her even as a cook.’ And I do, Darling: I withdraw the condition. I will love you always, even if you insist of being my cook for life!”

“O I don’t insist!” She cried. “I don’t want to cook–I want to draw! Drawing is my absolute passion.  But I thought Lois said– How she has misunderstood you!”

“It is true, always, my dear,” said I, “that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach; at least it’s not the only way. Lois doesn’t know everything,she is young yet!

And perhaps for my sake you can give it up. Can you sweet!?”

She sat there in silence.

And that for me was a thousand words.


Young Goodman Brown

I came out at sunset into the streets of Salem Village where I met my beautiful wife, Faith. At the sight of her I could tell that my presence would please her more then to see me part. As we met, we kissed while the wind played with pink ribbons on her cap, enhancing her beauty which only made the tensions of my departure grow.

“Dearest heart” she whispered, softly and rather sadly, “pr’ythee, put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep in your own bed to-night”. As much as I would rather be with the loving comfort of my wife I most continue on my journey. Continuing she said “A lone woman is troubled with such dreams and such thoughts, that she’s afeard of herself, sometimes. Pray, tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year!”

Little did she know how much she did move me, but the call of duty was upon me as I was dedicated to answer and to see what awaited. “My Love and my Faith” Trying my best to bring forth the trust and love she had for me to the surface, “My journey, as thou callest it, forth and back again, must needs be done ‘twixt now and sunrise. What, my sweet, pretty wife, dost thou doubt me already, and we but three months married!”

I stared as she gazed into my eyes, as if she was searching for the hidden truths behind my words. An overwhelming swallow came upon me “Then God bless you!”- I shook suddenly- “and may you find all well, when you come back!” she said.

I smiled uncontrollable at the furry hidden in such a gentle woman that was wrapped with patients and understanding. Faith, as one may call it. “Amen!” I cried. Maybe trying to startle her just the same, but unsuccessfully. “Say thy prayers, dear faith, and go to bed at dusk, and no harm will come to thee” and we parted.

I was now on my way through the forest which was torture at its purest definition. I once had the privilege of company along my journey but I caused my own loneliness. Goody Cloyse and her companion guided me through majority of the woods when suddenly I stopped abruptly and gave in to my own fears to continue on. Driven by fear but once again, going back to this unforeseen location saturated with terror I somehow seem to fly away from the diamonds that had took chase.

Suddenly I came upon what can only be described as a towns meeting but of unusual characteristics. The dammed mingling with the priests, the righteous with the witches and all commanded by a figure ahead. The figure- surrounded by giant burning trees that resembled giant touches- commanded authority and received as the crowd sang in harmony. I was baffled.

“Bring forth the converts!” I froze. Then despite my fears my body moved as if my soul was being taken to what can only be described as an altar ahead, I gave in. As I walked I can see my dead father- I am sure it is- and he calls, beckoning me to advance. “Mother?!” “Is that my mother too” I said softly. Looking ahead I watched this familiar figure that only showed despair, throw out her hand to warm me back but It was far too late for me to heed mother’s warnings. I continued without rethink or even trying to find the will.


The minister and good old Deacon Gookin took hold of my arms and led me to the blazing rock. Then appeared the pious teacher of the catechism, my old teacher, along with Martha Carrier, a woman that was known to have accepted the devil’s ring itself. Something was starting that I could not fully comprehend. Confusions took hold of me as I felt the presence of evil. Skimming through the faces at last I found Faith!. “Welcome, my children,” said the dark figure, “to the communion of your race! Ye have found, thus young, your nature and your destiny. My children, look!” A large wind took hold and the crowd turned.


Flashing forth, as it were, in a sheet of flame, the fiend-worshippers were seen; the smile of welcome gleamed darkly on every visage.


The figure in font spoke once again “There are all whom ye have reverenced from youth. Ye deemed them holier than yourselves, and shrank from your own sin, contrasting it with their lives of righteousness, and prayerful aspirations heavenward. Yet, here are they all, in my worshipping assembly! This night it shall be granted you to know their secret deeds” I was only amazed at what was to come. My thoughts were broken as the figure somehow continued to expose the horrors of the towns’ people’s past, only to convince us of our obvious joined evil’s revealing the horrors which would make the righteous scorn.


The silence of my mind was interrupted as the figure announced. “Far more than this! It shall be yours to penetrate, in every bosom, the deep mystery of sin, the fountain of all wicket arts, and which inexhaustibly supplies more evil impulses then human power – than my power, at its utmost! – can make manifest in deeds. And now, my children, look upon each other”


But Faith! Where is Faith? My pale face took sight of my wife the voice said once more “ Lo! There stand, my children!” In one motion, the shape of Evil dipped his hands in liquid that strongly resembled blood to continue laying the mark of baptism upon us. As the hand laid rest, and as my last conscious thoughts vanished I managed to manifest “Faith!, Faith!” I cried, “Look up to Heaven, and resist the Wicked One!”…

As bizarre as it may be, I have never dreamed so vividly that my own faith struggles to hold on to my soul. Like a bewildered man I stumbled into town only regaining full awareness as I saw familiar objects and faces. The memories of the event flashed back continuously, tormenting me.

“how can I find my ‘faith’ now!?” I asked unsuccessfully, with only the wind as my reply

Minutes turns into hours, hours into years; life continues. My wife was subject to my own scrutiny where I could not fully explain its origins. I labeled the town as pure hypocrites for matters that were never disclosed. As for myself, I was a vast field where gloom flourished continuously and thrived; Life continued and so did I, everyday making me a bit more weary.


My Short lived Happy Ending

I finish my meal and walk towards the kitchen, when I hear the doorbell ring. I slowly walk to the door. Due to my heart trouble, I try not to overwork myself. When I open the door, it was my sister Josephine and my husband’s friend, Richards. I invite them in, but they both have a gloomy look on their faces. My sister starts to talk, “Louise, Richards was at the newspaper office when he heard of the railroad disaster.” I nod, wondering what does this have to do with me. She seems to be speaking in broken sentences, and I can hear grief in her voice. As she continues, her voice gets high pitched and cracks, “Among the names of those killed, was Brently.”

What? The immeasurable pain struck me like a lightning bolt. I immediately scream at the news and threw myself into Josephine’s arms crying. I can’t believe it. My poor husband has been killed. I continue to cry until the grief eased up.  I walked to my room, having no one follow me.

When I go into my room, I quickly locked the door behind me and proceeded to the window. I stood at the open window, and sank into the comfortable armchair behind me. My exhaustion troubled me. I observe the landscape outside the window. The tops of the trees are shaking; it must be the new spring life. I take a deep breath and sense the rain in the air. Below in the street, is a peddler. Above, the blue sky is showing in patches due to the clouds that piled up together.

I throw my head back on the cushion of the chair, and remain motionless, except for a sob that came up from my throat and caused me to shake. Why? Why did this have to happen to him? To me?

I thought to myself. I’m a young woman, for my face is clear and calm, the lines on my face show a sign of strength.

Then, I started to feel something come to me. I don’t know what it was, but I feel it creeping up towards me through the sounds, scents, and colors that filled the air.

Now that my husband is gone, I have no one to limit me on my actions. I rise from the chair, and fall back down. I begin to feel empowerment, excitement even. Most women that I know would never feel such a way after their husband’s death. ”Free, free, free!” I begin to whisper. My pulses start to race. The terror which had overwhelmed me has dissolved.

I had loved Brently sometimes, though I often did not. I tried to shake that thought out of my head because it doesn’t matter anymore. I knew that once I see my husband at the funeral, in his coffin just lying there, I would grieve once again, but subsequently, the years that I have left will belong to me and no one else. I welcome the time I will have. That power that my husband had that bended my own is now gone. Love is an unresolved mystery, which can’t count for the possession of self-assertion that I have just been given access to.

I started to whisper again,” Free! Body and soul free!”

Josephine was behind the door shouting,” Louise, open the door! You will make yourself ill!” I ignore her warning. I am not making myself ill. My husband was who made me ill. “Go away! I am not making myself ill!” I shout in reply.

I think of the days to come, spring and summer days, and all types. All of these days will be my own. I took a deep breath, praying that life may be long.

I finally get up from the chair, and open the door to my sister. I grab her waist and walked down the stairs with her. My newly found freedom has filled me with life. Richards was still here waiting at the bottom.

Then, as we reached the bottom stair, someone opened the front door with a key. My terror returned at the sight of the figure that entered. It was Brently. My heart begins to race and I feel a horrible pain in my chest. I grab my chest and fall, then just pure darkness.

Beautiful Jane

On this peaceful morning, I look out at the grounds of the cottage that I hope will be the sanctuary that not only Jane will benefit from, but where I will be able to recover the woman I married. “My beautiful, charismatic Jane.” Since the birth of our son, Jane has slowly slipped into a diluted version of her once graceful and grounded being. Her warmth and charm have been replaced with a simmering melancholia, combined with small outbursts of nervousness and weepiness. Surely, this temporary condition would pass with some rest, both physically and mentally, for Jane had an active imagination. It was one of the many facets of her personality that had besotted me from the very beginning. The warm air and atmosphere will surely revitalize her strength, and snap her out of this temporary whim  of emotions.

Since we have been here, it seems that rest is not on Jane’s agenda since she seems to have developed a preoccupation with the wallpaper.  Lately, every time I look over at her, I see her looking quizzically at the walls. She has becomes fixated on the paper.  She is jumpy and skittish, but she does her best to deflect any uncertainty in her quiet demeanor. Like a sweet child, she scoffs and pouts about the state of the house. I do my best to not indulge her whims, and reassure her that she is merely looking for distractions. She should be focusing her thoughts on resting and doing light exercise, but absolutely no writing.  I feel that it adds to her whims of her strange caprice. For heaven’s sake, I am a doctor and know how to handle her over exhaustion and need for bit of tranquility. I feel that I have done a fine job at picking the perfect sanctuary. Doesn’t she realize that I know best?

She insists on being social and having more stimulus, but that would just make matters worse and prolong her state.

In fact, a few nights past, she mentioned that she felt something, that there was a strange presence that made her feel unsettled. As she said this, I noticed that she was standing by the window. I laugh at her girlish silliness and walk over, “My darling girl, the window is open and you feel a draught, not the presence of ghosts or goblins”. I kiss her cheek and close the window.

Instead of laughing with me, she looks agitated,  scoffs and leaves the room. I don’t remember during our courtship when she ever displayed anything close to this unattractive and impatient behavior, but I must do my best as a doctor, and husband, to remember that this is all do to with the fact that she needs rest, and surely her mind and disposition will recover to give me back my sweet Jane.

I am careful to remind her that we have come here for her repose, and that she must be careful to follow  my instructions. She smiles meekly when I remind her to have perfect rest and take as much air as she can get. I can see how much she is trying, but she needs to give herself that extra push. I fear that is she doesn’t, she will never be able to enjoy the full benefits of being both wife and mother.

Part of me begins to resent the unnatural order of our current situation. I find plenty of love and empathy for my beautiful Jane, but this unexpected burden weighs on me at times. I had envisioned, quiet, pleasant evenings at home.  An actual home where I did not have to think and fret, but that I would be able to enjoy the advantages of domesticity. Instead, I find myself being both husband and wife. Not even our sweet cherub is enough to incline her to take hold of her natural vocation.

But instead of working towards recovering her strength she focuses on the wallpaper in the house. Her fixation on this paper is somewhat perplexing. I agree that it isn’t the most attractive of patterns and hues, but we are only her for a short while, and for her much needed repose. I wish that she would engage in meaningful conversation about the future and our son instead of worrying about something so silly and inconsequential. I give myself over to my work and take care not to lose myself to whims as Jane has, for what would become of us! My work is my one salvation and tranquility at the moment. As much as I try not to, I take on more work because it has become my only peace. I feel guilty to harbor these feelings and remember to whisper sweet words and show her much kindness. 

If she doesn’t recover soon, she must go to Weir Mitchell for extensive treatment for her exhaustion and nervousness. The look of horror that overshadowed her face  at the mere suggestion broke my heart even further, but at the same time gave me hope! Jane’s insistence that she did not require such treatment made me realize that she is slowly returning to her sound mind, for surely if she were truly on the verge of hysteria she would not protest with such conviction.

I take care to  reassure her of my love , and give her encouragement to fight against her whims. She must use more self control to drive away this fretfulness that surrounds her at times. Whenever her impulses start to get the best of her, I must act firm and remind her that she must now begin to come out of this stupor of exhaustion and begin to resume life as we knew it. At times I wonder if my coddling has done more harm than good, and if she is taking extra time to recover because she has become accustomed to living a lofty existence. If this is her fear; I wish that she would not worry. Surely there will still be times that I will still indulge my silly goose.

But no sooner than I start to think that she may be coming around, her queerness over the paper begins to take a concerning turn. I see a shift in her demeanor. I begin to study her more and more. She begins to look gaunt and tired , as is clear by the dark circles under her eyes and the pallor of her skin. Even at the sight of this, I must continue to work, and maybe with some distance from me she will begin to see that this ridiculousness is starting to drive a wedge between us. I decide not to make the journey home after visiting my patient and stay overnight.  A night apart might be just the trick to knock her out of her stupor and make her realize that it is time for both of us to take our rightful places.

Upon my return, I feel optimistic and begin to think that this remedy might do the trick. Surely, Jane has realized the severity of the situation and have come to her senses. As I walk in, I do not see anyone. Could it be that she is with the baby? Could her maternal instincts have finally taken its natural hold over her, and she is finally ready to take part in our family? I could feel the excitement and relief bubbling inside me. I check the nursery, and alas, no one is there. As I proceed to go downstairs I hear something coming from our bedroom. A loud ripping sound, and grunting. It sounds like Jane. I go to open the door, but it is locked. “Jane darling, open the door”, my heart starts to pound in my chest. She tells me to go and get the key from under the plaintain leaf downstairs in a voice that attempts to sound calm, but I hear the pitch of hysteria that she tries to hide. I start pounding on the door and demand that she open. “Open this door, what the hell is going on in there!” I hear her giggle and I run downstairs. I frantically retrieve the key, and dash back up, and finally manage to open the door. The sight before me frightens, and tears down all the hope and love in my heart in an instant.  I realize as a I look into our room and see Jane appear more like a deranged animal, with wild hair and eyes, and the wallpaper torn down from the walls. She is screaming almost incoherently. “I’ve got out at last”, In spit of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!”In that moment I realize every lie that I told myself, I remember each time that I turned my cheek to her oddities that were telling of something darker and deeper, but I did it because I loved her so! “Am I the one who let my beautiful Jane vanish into  this wretched soul I see before me?” As I go to carefully approach her, I feel my weight unsteady, and my vision blurry. I realize what is happening and as my thoughts and coherence is leaving me, my last thoughts are, “What have I done to my beautiful Jane?”


Responding to our retellings

Part 1 of Project #1 is due today on our site so that we can give each other feedback. I’ve gotten many questions about when exactly the drafts are due. I had said Monday on our syllabus, and since we need time to read them and comment on at least two classmates’ retellings, please post them by what would be the end of our class time today (if we met on Mondays),  2:15pm.

For your post:

  • title: the title you’re giving your retelling
  • paste your retelling into the post
  • category: choose Week 6 under Homework AND draft under Project #1
  • tags: choose the tag for the story you’re retelling, plus any others you think are appropriate

When you choose the two retellings you want to comment on, address the post’s author to let them know:

  • what shift in narrator did the retelling’s author make?
  • what do you understand are the changes the shift in narrator necessitated?
  • what effect do these changes have on your experience reading the story?
  • anything else you want to recommend?
  • as always, we’re respectful of our classmates, even if we disagree. Please be sure your comments treat your classmates and their work with resepect. Please also understand that when you read comments on your retelling, critiques are intended to help you improve your work, not to personally attack.
  • feel free to reply to the comments with follow-up questions, like you would do in class if you were working together face-to-face.
  • as with homework in general, these comments are due by end-of-day Tuesday.

Please bring a printed copy of your retelling to class on Wednesday. so we can continue this peer review activity and discuss the retelling process.