Tag Archives: HOF

Part 2

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I decided to draw an eye depicting what in my opinion Sethe was seeing during the scene where she killed beloved.

In the novel they tell you she does not stare at the baby in her arms or the infant by her side (Denver and Beloved). So I decided to draw an angel to depict the freedom she thought she is giving her children. With a boy laying in blood on the far left of her pupil, an image that would be in her peripheral vision. Her pupil is constricted due to the emotions I imagine would be going through her mind for having to kill her children (fear, anxiety, etc) I also drew prominent red veins and bags under her eyes to overall make her eyes looks tired to showcase her fatigue.

Infanticide

Often times looking back at life you come to realize even the smallest things helped you get to where you are at this moment. The story of a character in a novel works the same way. When discussing a pivotal point in Sethe’s life that made it the way it is, it is hard to discern when that moment actually was. One could argue if she never married Hale she wouldn’t have lost her kids or killed beloved. Another might even go as far to say if she was never born all of this would have never happened. 

Personally, I feel like the most important scene in beloved was the moment when the schoolteacher and his nephews came and saw beloved with her neck slit, the boys laying in blood, and Denver being thrown at the wall. ‚ÄúInside, two boys bled in the sawdust and dirt at the feet of a n**** woman holding a blood-soaked child to her chest with one hand and an infant by the heels in the other. She did not look at them; she simply swung the baby toward the wall planks, missed and tried to connect a second time, when out of nowhere…the old n**** boy, still mewing, ran through the door behind them and snatched the baby from the arc of its mother’s swing” (175).

Infanticide plays a key role in this novel. It was something that was commonly done amongst slave woman to prevent their kids from enduring the same fate they did. Sethe felt the need to kill her children as she saw no other way to save them. In her eyes there was no hope left for freedom and saw this as the only way. She even says,¬†‚Äú‚Ķ couldn‚Äôt let her nor any of ‚Äėem live under schoolteacher.” (200) Regardless of her justifications she was condemned by her neighborhood and the law. She became an outcast and no one spoke to anyone in 214.¬†

Although she feels justified in her action she still feels guilty. Hence the need of hers to justify to beloved her reasoning behind murdering her. Beloved herself is a character the reader isn’t entirely sure about; she could be anyone. In Sethe’s case, beloved could be seen as the personification of this guilt and her need for atonement. As Sethe is constantly shown justifying her committing infanticide to beloved.¬†

Going back to how Sethe was condemned by everyone for her crime, she set off a¬†chain reaction; her boys left her, baby Suggs died and Denver suffered isolation and was picked on by everyone for it. Denver was/is the only child of Sethe’s who remained with her and even she wasn’t happy. Her mothers crime made her just as much of an outcast as it did her mother. Due to her peers making fun of her she began questioning Sethe about her past. ¬†Even Paul D, who came back into her life much later, left her after learning about the crime she committed.¬†

Sethe’s whole life after killing beloved was shaped around that moment. Everything that happened to her henceforth was a reaction to that said moment. Had she not taken the initiative and killed beloved her life would be completely different. Maybe not a happy one but one without the constant guilt of having your own child’s blood on your hand.

Sethe wins, so to speak, and prevents her kids from being taken to good home.

“Right off it was clear, to schoolteacher especially, that there was nothing there to claim. The three (now four‚ÄĒbecause she’d had the one coming when she cut) pickaninnies they had hoped were alive and well enough to take back to Kentucky, take back and raise properly to do the work Sweet Home desperately needed, were not. Two were lying open-eyed in sawdust; a third pumped blood down the dress of the main one‚ÄĒthe woman schoolteacher bragged about, the one he said made fine ink, damn good soup, pressed his collars the way he liked besides having at least ten breeding years left. But now she’d gone wild, due to the mishandling of the nephew who’d overbeat her and made her cut and run.”

She ‘saved’ her kids from the cruel fate of slavery. Which raises the question¬†whether or not it was worth it. In the end of the novel, Beloved’s presence is gone, she helped Sethe confront her past and gave her the possibility of ¬†having a happy future with Paul D. ¬†It’s not easy losing a child but Sethe still has one left to whom she succeed in protecting from being a slave. Maybe not justifiable, but the act is understandable.

Many may argue how Sethe, prior to actually doing the act, thinks about killing her children where she gives her reasoning behind why killing them is the best decision, is what would be an important scene. Had she not had those thoughts then beloved would not have entered her life as a paranormal being. But alas, thoughts are fickle and subject to change so I decided the actual scene where the schoolteacher comes is the one that resulted in the story of beloved. Had she not killed her child she wouldn’t have demons in her past to overcome and conquer.

The most important thing in the novel is beloved’s emergence. Which probably would not have happened if the actual killing scene didn’t happen. Everything else would change the course of the story but even if those events occurred and the killing didn’t beloved would not have taken form the way she did.

The Woman in The Wallpaper vs The Actual Woman

The Yellow wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a tale of a woman fighting her madness. She[For the purpose of distinction we’ll call her Mary] believes there is a woman inside the wallpaper and ultimately becomes obsessed with wanting to ‘free her’. I saw the woman inside the wallpaper as the part of Mary¬†that was actually trapped in marriage. ‘Mary’ in the beginning thought John was loving and meant well, at this moment the woman in the wallpaper didn’t exist, if anything ‘Mary’ hated the wallpaper and didn’t even want to live in the room. As her madness manifested and she became more obsessed with the wallpaper she imagined there was a woman who was there trapped, she also saw many women outside her window who ‘creep around’ and thought them to have walked out of the wallpaper. At this point she found John to be annoying.

I get unreasonably angry with John sometimes. I’m sure I never used to be so sensitive. I think it is due to this nervous condition. But John says if I feel so, I shall neglect proper self-control; so I take pains to control myself-before him, at least, and that makes me very tired…..¬†John does not know how much I really suffer. He knows there is no reason to suffer, and that satisfies him

‘Mary’ begins to realize John isn’t exactly the nicest person. The woman on the other hand, since it is now that ¬†‘Mary’ noticed her existence, would be the side of her that wouldn’t notice this neglect but rather see it as ‘Mary’ being the reason why John doesn’t spend much time home anymore.

 

I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as I did?

This was the most interesting moment, in ¬†my opinion, when the women was no longer ‘She’ but rather became ‘I’. Hence sparking my interest in writing from the so-called woman’s point of view. I didn’t see the woman as an actual physical being but rather the quarreling side of ‘Mary’; the one who wanted to remain in her barrier [wallpaper]. The way I see it the woman is probably just as intrigued by ‘Mary’ as she was by her in the actual story. I felt the woman wasn’t the personification of ¬†‘Mary’s’ madness but rather her sanity, the madness was ‘Mary’ herself. ¬†The woman didn’t go through the same emotions that ‘Jane’ did but rather saw them happening from the sidelines and found them rather foolish and possibly wished it wasn’t happening. I felt the woman should be both intrigued and intimidated by the madness that was taking over ‘Jane’.

The woman in the wallpaper was the part of ‘Mary’ that was bound by the conforms of society at that time. This story was written in 1899 and women still didn’t have a sense of individuality without men (their husbands). Being that there was a part of her she saw in the wallpaper and frantically tried freeing it can be seen in two ways; the wallpaper woman didn’t want to be freed or didn’t feel like she needed to be freed. In my retelling the wallpaper woman was pretty much powerless she was able to voice her thoughts but couldn’t ¬†anything to control the events nor did she have the capability of reigning the madness. The madness through her eyes was an ugly thing that was taking over ‘Mary’s’ body and literally spilling out of her (into her speech, her journal, and her overall demeanor.) She (the woman) wasn’t pleased with this and though she was powerless she did give her insight about certain things that happened in the actual story. I kept the woman’s periphery limited to what a person would see standing against the wall without moving. She, just like ‘Mary’, wasn’t able to discern the others¬†thoughts and everything was judged by examination. The woman was a threat to ‘Mary’ and vice versa. Think of those movie/tv show scenes where they show your reflection talking back to you and voicing it’s opposition, the reflection wasn’t some supernatural occurrence and nor did you imagine it but rather it was a personification of your inner voice; sometimes you can ignore it and sometimes it can become louder and overcome your will. Standing at a crossroad in life where you have to pick whether you want to continue on the path you were originally on or whether you want to deviate from it is a hard decision to make. There’s always going to be a part of you that is eager to accept the change and there’s going to be a part of you that is reluctant. You battle between these two choices until own dominates the other. In this case, I feel the original story was this inner battle woven within the psychological issue ‘Mary’ became sick from. The madness showcased in the retelling however was not the possible psychological problem of ‘Mary’s’ but rather the desire to break conformity. The woman saw this to be a threatening ugly thing that was slowly creeping out of ‘Mary’ and she didn’t like it one bit.

I kept the original ending of the story because in both point of views these two opposing sides become one after the wallpaper/barrier was broken. It seemed wrong to change any of that so I left it the way it was. The ending was what ties both point of views together and makes them one it also showcases that both the woman and ‘Mary’ are actually the same person. To change it would give the story a different meaning and give you the sense that there was an actual woman.

You can obviously see this story in another way. You would perhaps think that the woman wanted to be free but didn’t have the means to do so but then ‘Mary’s’ madness wouldn’t have shaped itself the way it did. Or, the woman could have just been a figment of her imagination instead of a personification of the side of her that opposed to her desire¬†to escape. This was just the way I read the story and what I thought was happening.

The Woman

The Yellow Wallpaper

The Woman

There’s a woman in the room, although oddly familiar she is still a stranger. It is very intriguing watching her struggling to break free of the strangling ropes that bind us, how silly it is seeing her indulge her madness.

John, that is the name spoken from her lips, this man he loves her, or so it seems.  I hear bits and pieces of their conversations, sometimes they make sense sometimes not.  She shares her fears he shoots them down, he tries to save her. Is that not love? Even so, I can see the cracks starting to form on her countenance as she continues to divulge into her madness, which is slowly becoming more apparent.

He says, “There is nothing so dangerous, so fascinating, to a temperament like yours. It is a false and foolish fancy. Can you not trust me as a physician when I tell you so? ” She quiets down, but it doesn’t look as if she’s fighting her thoughts, she entertains them, feeds them. Foolish girl! Can’t you see there is no breaking free?

She writes a lot; I always see her writing in secrecy with the madness creeping out of her and seeping into the pages, her foolhardy thoughts out in the open for anyone to stumble upon. The cracks are quickly spreading all over her frail body, I am legitimately concerned seeing her thoughts pushing to break free to pierce into the room and consume the air.

She is much calmer during the daytime and more frantic at night. At night she sees me; am I a threat to her or is she a threat to me? John isn’t around much anymore. Can’t she see she is neglecting her duty of love for him? ¬†There is another woman, John’s sister, keeping her keen eyes on her, Jennie. Can Jennie¬†see the madness that I can see in her clearly now, it’s a shade darker than any black I have ever seen. It swells inside her, building momentum and seeping out of the ¬†now countless¬†cracks.

The black has now completely consumed her seeping out in a frantic rhythm. She’s coming closer, what is this? I cannot help but laugh loudly, I reckon she must have heard it. She is attempting to tear the barrier away. She is indeed the ‘Silly goose’ John claims her to be. This barrier is unbreakable. I will not allow her to consume me, I am happy where I am. This place is where I must remain, it is the only way for me to fulfill my purpose. For the life of me I cannot recall what this purpose is but I must remain here. I am sure of it. She promises to try again. There aren’t any worries on my part, she will never succeed. They never do.

She’s more frantic than ever, peeling off more of the barrier. My pleas are fallen to deaf ears as she desperately tries to break the barrier. Her duties, my duties long forgotten. She is me. I am getting angry enough to do something desperate. To jump out of the window would be admirable exercise, but the bars are too strong even to try. Besides I wouldn’t do it. Of course not. I know well enough that a step like that is improper and might be misconstrued. ¬†I don’t like to look out of the windows even- there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast. I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as I did? But I am securely fastened now by my well-hidden rope – you don’t get me out in the road there ! I suppose I shall have to get back behind the pattern when it comes night, and that is hard! It is so pleasant to be out in this great room and creep around as I please!

I don’t want to go outside. I won’t, even if Jennie asks me to.¬†For outside you have to creep on the ground, and everything is green instead of yellow.¬†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.¬†Why there’s John at the door!

It is no use, young man, you can’t open it!¬†How he does call and pound!¬†Now he’s crying for an axe.¬†It would be a shame to break down that beautiful door!¬†“John dear!” said I in the gentlest voice, “the key is down by the front steps, under a plantain leaf!”

That silenced him for a few moments.¬†Then he said–very quietly indeed, “Open the door, my darling!”¬†“I can’t,” said I. “The key is down by the front door under a plantain leaf!”¬†And then I said it again, several times. very gently and slowly, and said it so often that he had to go and see, and he got it of course, and came in.

He stopped short by the door. “What is the matter?” he cried. “For God’s sake, what are you doing! ” I kept on creeping just the same, but I looked at him over my shoulder.

“I’ve got out at last,” said I, ” in spite of you and Jane? And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back! ” Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time!

A Rose for Emily

Emily Grierson from William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily is a woman who never married. It was intriguing to see¬†Emily become a recluse. The story is an excellent example of macabre and horror, Faulkner proves if done right you can creep readers out without gory details and intense violence. ¬†The¬†narration [third-point of view] was also enjoyable, I especially liked how the narration used the word ‘our’ to depict the feelings of the town as a whole.

The story started out with Emily already being dead, and then Faulkner starts telling us about the Colonel who made up a story so Emily didn’t have to pay her taxes, it is unclear what is actually happening in the story. However, it becomes clear what direction Faulkner was taking; key moments of Emily’s life in the eyes of the town were recalled and told to us, these events in turn helped with inferring the revelation of Emily’s chilling necrophiliac nature.

The first hint at necrophilia was Emily’s refusal of her fathers death when, for three days, she kept his dead body in her house. Emily wasn’t seen after her fathers death again until around the time construction workers showed up in town. She was seen around town with Homer Barron and the townsfolk thought she would marry him. Much later when she was well over thirty she was seen buying arsenic due to which the townsfolk thought she was going to¬†finally¬†kill herself. Instead she invited Homer to her house after which he was never seen again. Emily after his disappearance became a full reclusive and wasn’t seen again until her death (except for when the men in the town saw her in the window after they sneaked¬†into her house and sprinkled lime all over the doors etc due to the horrid smell surrounding her house and for the brief period she taught china-painting). After her death the story goes back to present and reconnects with the opening passage. The women and men enter her house and go upstairs to the room that they knew was never seen in the last forty years. They see a room decorated as a bridal suite and see a man, whom we can assume is Homer Barron, dead.

The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him. What was left of him, rotted beneath what was left of the nightshirt, had become inextricable from the bed in which he lay; and upon him and upon the pillow beside him lay that even coating of the patient and biding dust. Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair.

The ending was the second and the most crucial hint at necrophilia. Even so, Faulkner leaves a lot of gaps in the story giving way to various interpretations, I’m sure some of you may have read the end differently than I did.

A Jury of her Peers/The Story of An Hour

I enjoyed ‘A Story of An Hour’ by Kate Chopin more than I did “Jury of Her Peers’ and the length was not the reason. Although shorter, A Story of An Hour gave more insight on Louise’s feelings better enabling the reader to connect to her. ‘Jury of Her Peers’ on the other hand gave us diverse characters letting us be the judge of them through their actions rather than internal feelings.

The two stories albeit being different were very similar.  A key theme in the two stories would be the rebellion of women [against men]. From the clues given in the stories you can assume both Mrs. Mallard and Mrs. Wright were dominated by their husbands.

Mrs. Mallard in ‘The Story of An Hour’ hears the news of her husbands death but unlike other women doesn’t go into shock instead grieves. She goes through the stages of grief and comes into terms with the death. Realizing her new found freedom she has an epiphany and dreams of living her life for herself on her own accord rather than for her husband. The first thing mentioned in this story is her heart problems so it’s safe to assume this statement foreshadows her death. The news of her husbands death had no effect on her heart condition, so you can bet a bigger news would soon arrive. The ‘big news’ so to speak was the sudden arrival of Mr. Mallard, her husband, who turns out wasn’t dead after all. Mrs. Mallard, who at this point was elated and full of joy, gets shocked at seeing her husband alive gives out a cry and dies of a heart attack. “The joy that kills’

Mrs. Wright on the other hand is under question for the death of her husband. The story starts of with Mrs. Hale, Mr. Hale, The Sheriff and his wife [Mrs. Peters] ¬†going to Mrs. Wrights house. Mr. Hale tells the story of how he went the night before to ask Mr. Wright something in front of his wife, after knocking on the door a few times someone [Mrs. Wright] tells him to enter. He sees her sitting on the chair and asks her to call John, to which she laughs, and says she can’t. She then tells Mr. Hale John[Mr. Wright] is dead, a rope round his neck had killed him. They find clues in the house that indicated at the harsh demeanor of Mr. Wright towards Mrs. Wright. -he killed her pet bird- ¬†A key point in the story would be when Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peter were alone and had the conversation about John, the bird and Minnie Foster [Mrs. Wright] They spoke about John described him as ‘a harsh man… like raw wind that gets to the bone.’ They find the bird cage and then the bird itself, in a box with it’s neck wrung, in Minnie’s basket. They hid the box when the sheriff came back in the kitchen, Mrs. Hale knew Minnie Foster and said she liked the bird and wanted to bury it (justifying why the bird was in the box). Mrs. Peters claimed they didn’t know who killed the bird to which Mrs. Hale said she knew John. She convinced Mrs. Peters (who thought people should pay for their crimes) and they hid the evidence and gave Minnie a not guilty verdict.

In both stories the women rebelled against conformity [by going against their husbands]. Louise Mallard’s way was much more subtle than that of the ladies from ‘A Jury of Her Peers’ she internally rebelled by not going into shock over her husbands death but rather by overcoming it and finding her freedom. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters rebelled by hiding evidence and calling Mrs. Wright not guilty.

Just goes to show how two completely different stories can connect through similar aspects; husbands death and the sense freedom that came along with it as well as breaking the norm.