Middle-Class Morality

Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, published in 1857, expresses his dislike of the French bourgeoisie. He mocks anyone not upper class declaring that they have no firm morals and survive solely on Romanticism. Flaubert uses literary techniques such as diction, figurative language, and syntax to openly criticize the middle class for abandoning their morals when it becomes convenient and beneficial for them.

Flaubert utilizes powerful diction to criticize the feelings of the middle class as they abandon their morals, finding that it can advance their place in the social caste. Emma Bovary, the protagonist of the novel, is in desperate need of money to pay a debt. In search of money she visits a notary of the town, when he desires sexual favors in return she accuses him of “taking shameless advantage of [her] distress… [She] is to be pitied- not to be sold” (Flaubert 280). Soon after, Flaubert mocks her for this statement as she voluntarily turns to thoughts of prostitution when she has previously declared that it is beneath her. Emma is unknowingly describing herself as “shameless”, subsequently abandoning her integrity when she feels it is needed. Afterwards, as part of her outrage and disgust at the thought of prostituting herself she launches into several invectives, exclaiming “What a wretch! What a scoundrel! What an infamy!” (280). Her strong application of “wretch”, “scoundrel”, and the “infamy” of his suggestions are a passionate response to the attack on her virtue, however, these words will perfectly describe her own personage a few pages further. She had not previously thought to use her attractiveness to men as a means of monetary advancement but now realizes that abandoning the morals she had hitherto believed is beneficial to her. Flaubert offers another view of the lack of morals found in the middle class as Emma quickly alters her opinion of what is right and wrong after accusing another of having no integrity. Then, not only is Emma easily swayed in her stance of what is right, she begins to feel inferior to those who have managed to maintain their morals. The “thought of [her husband’s] superiority to her exasperated her” (281) and drove her to abandon her distaste for prostitution in order for her to feel more in control of her own destiny. Through the word “superiority” Flaubert points to the fact that those with high morals and integrity are superior and have strength and class that those of middle class society do not have because of their pursuit of power and advancement. The diction used in this passage to describe Emma and her feelings illustrates Flaubert’s low opinion of the proletariat that surrounded him as they disposed of their morality for what they believed to be better circumstances.

Gustave Flaubert’s implementation of figurative language is an attempt to point out the flawed morals of the French Bourgeoisie, as they struggle to claim status and wealth.. He believes that those of the upper class can overcome all obstacles without lowering their standards and contrasts this with the middle-class citizens who are smothered with problems and difficulties yet fail to maintain their values. Emma feels bombarded by “a thousand blandishments” (280) as the notary attempts to gain her affections. Exaggeration is used here to exhibit how overwhelmed Emma feels and the heights to which she is willing to climb to escape her seducer. The author portrays the middle class of this novel as petty and wavering in their values, even willing to abandon them for money and flattery. Next, while Emma continues on her quest to find money, as well as save her home and reputation she goes against her previous beliefs of moral behavior, “not in the least conscious of her prostitution” (284). Though she has just declined an offer that may have paid her debts, the situation was not in her favor so she proceeds to solicit herself in a manner that was previously disgusting to her. Emma’s ironic actions illustrate the ridiculousness of the choices of the middle class and their willingness to abandon morality. Emma is disgusted by the men that she feels make it necessary for her to offer herself up to them. She “walked…searching the empty horizon…rejoicing in the hate that was choking her” (281). The personification of the “hate that was choking her” reveals how trapped Emma feels by her situation and the hate she feels around her. With this trapped feeling comes desperation and an intense desire to remove herself from it, no matter the cost. Emma, throughout the novel, occasionally returns to her basic Christian beliefs and attempts to stay faithful. However, by the end of the novel, Emma perceives her Romantic views of life and status in life as more valuable to her than the standards she once held. This demonstrates Flaubert’s feeling that the middle class felt that bettering their situation and finding acceptance in society was more important than maintaining their morals.

The syntax Flaubert employs in this passage also demonstrates the desperation and loss of morals that Emma experiences at this point in her degradation. The lengthy asyndeton he utilizes allows the reader to comprehend the lack of control Emma is feeling over her own life as she is overwhelmed by her situation. She “at last, weary of waiting, assailed by fears that she thrust from her, no longer conscious whether she had been here a century or a moment, she sat down in a corner, closed her eyes” (284). In an attempt to gain stability in her life as well as lessen the intense stream of consciousness plaguing her mind, Emma forgoes her values becoming an amoral person simply because of the middle-class in which she was placed. In this scene, Flaubert finally allows his audience to see that the moral choices of the bourgeois were the only means through which they could control their situation and advance in society. Emma becomes even more desperate when she discovers that her Romantic views and plans for life have failed. A syntactical anomaly also appears in this passage, surrounded by lengthy sentences with little or no conjunctions. Emma’s mood is altered as “a spirit of warfare transformed her” (281). Emma had previously only slightly acted upon her feelings of inferiority within society and now she chooses a dark path of immorality and poor decisions. This short sentence clearly points out the quick decision Emma has made in wavering from her prior beliefs. Flaubert deliberately makes this sentence stand out in an effort to display his negative opinion of Emma’s reactions to her situation. Using this syntax, Flaubert is able to demonstrate his distaste for members of the middle-class, such as Emma Bovary, who choose to live without morals, trying to gain control of their miserable lives and advance socially.

Gustave Flaubert depicts the French Bourgeoisie as spineless people who are willing to sacrifice their morals and class for money and position. He portrays Emma Bovary in this light, revealing his views for the rest of the proletariat such as her and the citizens of her town. They are depicted as viewing the world around them with Romantic ideas and living without moral consequences. Using various literary techniques such as diction and figurative language, Flaubert effectively demonstrates the lack of morality apparent in the middle-class as its members waver from their beliefs, consistently choosing wealth and recognition over a sense of values.

Gender, Misogyny, and the “New Woman” in In Our Time

The works of Ernest Hemingway are often criticized by feminist critics because of the way he writes about women. Hemingway is often described as the “poster boy for archaic masculinity that many would love to see eradicated” (Haske). Many believe that Hemingway embodies patriarchal attitudes through the way that he characterizes women and the way they are portrayed in his stories. In all of Hemingway’s short stories, the main characters are always men. Although there are usually female characters as well, they are never featured as the protagonist. Even then, many critics feel that the female characters are misrepresented. The way that the females are characterized in his stories makes it appear as if women are not taken seriously nor respected by the men that they are surrounded by. Hemingway chooses to leave the women in the shadows of his writing. While it appears that Hemingway is a misogynist because of how he degrades and misrepresents women in his writing, Hemingway’s writing represents realistic situations based off of the time it was written. By closely analyzing his stories, the reader can see that Hemingway is trying his best to adapt to the societal changes occurring in this period of history and may arguably be progressive. Analysis of the way that Hemingway characterizes the female characters in his stories “Soldier’s Home”, “Cat in the Rain”, and “The End of Something” illustrates that Hemingway was not a misogynist, but rather representing realistic situations associated with the time in history.

Feminist literary criticism by definition, “assumes that literature both reflects and shapes stereotypes and other cultural assumptions. Thus, feminist literary criticism examines how works of literature embody patriarchal attitudes or undercut them” (Napikoski). In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway was originally published in 1925. During this time, the United States was in the midst of the Women’s Suffrage movement—which began in the 1920s when women were given the right to vote. Steven Lynn explains that our, “Western society has actually been structured to protect women from the brutalities of war and commerce, allowing them to be nurturers, mothers, and homemakers…it overlooks the way that insulation and honor are themselves a kind of suppression and exclusion. And it assumes that women are the weaker sex (emotional, unstable, passive, irrational), needing protection, unable to compete with men. But all women are not weaker than all men in any way” (Lynn, 223). While women were gaining more rights and more of a voice within society, most women remained in the traditional role of the housewife. Dismantling gender norms and societal expectations was extremely difficult. This time period produced many inconsistencies in beliefs and values due to the different ideas from “traditionalist” older generation and the “new woman” that was brought forth by the younger generation (Alchin).

One instructive narrative, where these issues are concerned. “Soldier’s Home”. In this short story, Krebs is a young man who has just returned home from war. His transition to life back home proves to be extremely difficult. His family begins to worry about his well being, so they encourage him to find a job and a nice girl to date. Unfortunately, Krebs is no longer able to relate and connect to those around him, causing him to act out towards his family. In this story, Hemingway depicts the idea that the main goal of women should have the desire to be homemakers. The beginning of the story features Krebs’ sister—who has the first active role for a female in the story. In the dialogue, she asks her brother “Aren’t you my beau, Hare?” (Hemingway, 74). She continues on to talk about how her brother is her beau and she asks if he loves her. She does not stop asking Krebs these questions until he reluctantly gives her an accepting answer. In “Rhetoric and Women: The Private and Public Spheres”, an essay featured in Constructing and Reconstructing Gender, Lesley Di Mare explains that in literature, “women are defined in terms of their biological function…other disciplines (history, philosophy, art, film, and so on) have been used by the patriarchy to create the perception that women function best biologically, none have been used so effectively as the discipline of rhetoric. In effect, the rhetorical tradition has acted as a tool of the dominant cultural position to promote the notion that women are capable of only one function—a biological one…women’s secondary status in society becomes a self-perpetuating one” (Di Mare, 47). Di Mare explains that literature often depicts that the only purpose women have in society is to have children and to be homemakers. Krebs’ sister represents the idea that women, even from a young age, believe that their function in society is to get married and have children. Even at a young age, society has taught his sister’s that her main concern should be gaining acceptance from men.

Likewise, we are given Krebs’ mother who represents a woman that is fulfilling her “biological function”. In the story she is presented as a hyper-religious, nagging, emotional housewife. Although being a stay at home mother is the “job” that society expects her to fulfill, she is still criticized even when she is being a good mother. Famous female literary critic, Simone de Beauvoir, explained in her book, The Second Sex, that, “females have been depicted in literature and culture as either Mary or Eve, the angelic mother or evil seductress. Such a representation of women, especially in works by men, serves to make women unreal…rather than anything positively female or mutually human” (Lynn, 227). According to de Beauvoir, Krebs’ mother in “Soldier’s Home” functions as a “Mary” because of her housewife stereotype. De Beauvoir argues that depicting women as the perfect housewife is an unrealistic representation of women, thus perpetrating the misogynistic views of our society.

Although “Soldier’s Home” mostly portrays the idea that a woman’s purpose is to raise a family, Hemingway attempts to subtly negate this idea with Krebs’ sister. Krebs’ sister discusses her love for baseball and even says “I can pitch better than lots of the boys” (Hemingway, 74). Before the 1920s, it was considered unladylike to women to play sports (“Women in Sport and Physical Education at The College of Wooster”). By Hemingway acknowledging the fact that his sister is thriving competing in sport (even against boys) exhibits his attempt to dismantle typical gender roles during this time period.

Similar to “Soldier’s Home”, “The Cat in the Rain” features a female character who is seeming to seek approval from a man: her husband, George. In the story, an American couple is stuck in a hotel room because it is raining outside. While the wife looks out the window, she sees a cat that is caught in the rain. The wife decides that she wants to go fetch the cat, but this upsets the husband and causes a string of disagreements between the couple. In each case that the wife proposes, “the male character is disturbed by this jarring experience of difference” (Holliday-Karre, 70) and she is told no. During their conversation in the hotel room, the woman—who is never given a name other than “the American girl”—talks about how badly she had wanted the cat that was outside. She continues to talk in hopes of getting some recognition or attention, but George is completely uninterested in what his wife has to say and does not look up from his newspaper. He does not engage in conversation until she asks, “Don’t you think it would be a good idea if I let my hair grow out?” (Hemingway, 93). Once the conversation shifted to something concerning the appearance of his wife, he gave her full attention and “hadn’t looked away from her since she started to speak” (Hemingway, 93). Virginia Woolf, one of the foremost modernist writers of the 20th century, states, “Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of a man at twice its natural size…That serves to explain in part the necessity that women so often are to men” (Holliday-Karre). Here, Woolf explains that both historically and in literature women have been objects which men want to control—they serve as whatever the man would like them to be. Before the women’s rights movement women were expected to submit to their husbands and were often seen as objects, rather than their own person. The wife in “Cat in the Rain” depicts this idea and thus functions as her husband’s reflector.

Some critics believe that the way Hemingway portrays the wife’s behavior in “Cat in the Rain” as narcissistic and that “[her] desire for emotional and physical contact is unrealistic” (Holliday-Karre, 74) because she is attempting to break away from her husband’s expectations. During this time period, women were expected to be complacent and not question their husbands. Like many women in the 1920s, the American wife in “Cat in the Rain” had to exhibit great strength and boldness in order to attempt to break away from the expectations that society and her husband had in order to seek recognition that she is her own person.

As explained previously, the women featured in his stories are often negatively characterized. Some critics believe that Hemingway in his short story, “The End of Something”, the female character is described as naïve and delusional—but this is not so. Opposed to the previous two stories, this story instead represents a strong, independent female who is disregards the gender norms that are often associated with the women featured in Hemingway’s stories. In the story, Nick and Marjorie are in a serious relationship. Marjorie believes that her relationship with Nick is going well, and even believes that there may be the prospect of marriage in the near future. Unfortunately, Nick does not feel the same and he has decided that he can no longer be with Marjorie. Throughout the story, the reader is able to pick up Nick’s subtle hints of disinterest. Marjorie is completely clueless that Nick feels this way and does not think much of his short, condescending responses. Eventually, Nick picks a fight with Marjorie by getting frustrated that she “know[s] everything”. This moment infers that “Marjorie’s knowledge, then, appears to be the source of Nick’s unhappiness” (Daiker, 246). Marjorie’s knowledge and confidence defies typical gender roles, thus “challenging his dominance” (Daiker, 246). This argument results in Nick breaking up with Marjorie because “everything had gone to hell inside of [him]” (Hemingway, 34). Despite her confusion, Marjorie remains composed. Hemingway writes, “Marjorie stood up… ‘I’m going to take the boat. You can walk back around the point’” (Hemingway, 35). This scene, “reflects not only a moment of absolute clarity for Marjorie but also the beginning of her recovery” (Daiker, 250). As I previously mentioned, Lynn states that women are often represented as “emotional, unstable, passive, [and] irrational” (223). Marjorie breaks the idea of what women are because she demonstrates composure and rational thinking—all while confronting a difficult situation. Additionally, Marjorie walking away from Nick resists Di Mare’s assertion that “women are defined in terms of their biological function” which in hand results in “women’s secondary status in society” (Di Mare, 47). Marjorie is able to realistically acknowledge that while it is the end of something, it is not the end of everything. “The End of Something” represents that Hemingway’s ideas about women are changing due to the influence of the time period.

There is no questioning that Ernest Hemingway in many cases has misrepresented women in his stories. His characterization of women being emotional, unstable, passive, and irrational often distracts the reader from believing that Hemingway was anything other than a misogynist. It is important to look at the time in which his stories were written in order to fully understand why he portrays women the way he does. The 1920s, the time in which In Our Times was written, was a period of major change in regards to how women were treated and viewed by society. Thus, Hemingway represents the ideas of someone caught in the middle of the older generation of “traditionalists” and the younger generation who backs the ideas of the “new woman”. Throughout his writing, we see how he conforms to societies old ideas and expectations—but we also see how he attempts to represent the “new woman” by dismantling the stereotype of how a woman should act and function. Hemingway’s stories are not influenced off of his own misogynistic ideologies, but rather a realistic depiction of how society was functioning during the time period.

Works Cited

Alchin, Linda. “Women in the 1920s.” Women in the 1920s: Changing Roles and Famous Women for Kids, http://www.american-historama.org/1913-1928-ww1-prohibition- era/women-in-the-1920s.htm.

Brandt, Jeff. “Ernest Hemingway: In Limbo between Sexism and Feminism.” January 13, 2010, jtbrandt.com/system/app/pages/search?scope=search-site&q=in+limbo.

Daiker, Donald A. “In Defense of Hemingway’s Young Nick Adams: ‘Everything Was Gone to Hell Inside Me.’” Texas Studies in Literature & Language, vol. 57, no. 2, 2015, pp. 242-257. EBSCOhost, doi:10.7560/TSLL57205.

Di Mare, Lesley. Constructing and Reconstructing Gender: Female Critics and The Female Voice, “Rhetoric and Women: the Private and the Public Spheres”. Alabama UP, 1992.

Haske, Joseph. “Hemingway: A Critical Feast.” American Book Review, vol. 38, no. 4, 2017. Project Muse, muse.jhu.edu/article/670377/summary.

Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1996.

Holliday-Karre, Erin. “Dr. Froyd Seemed to Think That I was Quite a Famous Case”: Sexual Discourse in 1920’s Feminism and Fiction.” Womens Studies, vol. 45, no. 4, 2016.

Lynn, Steven. Texts and Contexts. 6th ed., Pearson, 2011, p. 227-228.

Napikoski, Linda. “Feminist Literary Criticism.” ThoughtCo, 31 July 2017, thoughtco.com/feminist-literary-criticism-3528960. Accessed 2 November 2017.

Women in Sport and Physical Education at The College of Wooster, www.ohio5.org/woosterwomeninsport/exhibits/show/eras/1920s.

Lunes Lunacy: The Importance of Monday in One Hundred Years of Solitude

On one Tuesday in One Hundred Years of Solitude, José Arcadio Buendía, the Buendía family’s enigmatic patriarch, comes to the sudden realization that “it’s still Monday, like yesterday” (Márquez 77). At first, this may seem like lunacy; the characters around him all discredit his idea, and he is eventually tied to a chestnut tree after his realization drives him mad (78). However, his statement is more than it seems. The realization that it is “still Monday” even as the week continues to progress speaks to the broader theme of the cyclical and ultimately stagnant nature of time in the novel (77). Throughout the novel, Macondo experiences much technological progress, globalization, and population growth, but eventually the town succumbs to collapse and returns to a pre-civilization state. Even as the plot and events move forward, characters seem to repeat themselves, as the constant stream of ‘José Arcadios’ and ‘Aurelianos’ confuse and distort what would be considered a logical or ordered progression of time. Even as time brings progress and change, it eventually erases them, bringing about yet again the beginning of a cycle. Monday represents the beginning of these cycles. It is the first day of creation in the Book of Genesis, and is used in the novel to frame the beginnings of important events. The fact that José Arcadio Buendía declares every day to be Monday shows that Macondo is an analogue for human civilization, symbolizing that despite any apparent progress, ultimately time erodes all; progress and change are merely illusions, because things will always return to their ‘Monday.’

José Arcadio Buendía comes to his realization based on the fact that his surroundings remain unchanged, despite the fact that it is supposedly a different day. On a Tuesday, he tells his son, Aureliano, to “look at the sky, look at the walls, look at the begonias. Today is Monday too” (77). The following day, he declares that nature and his surroundings are “the same as yesterday and the day before. Today is Monday too” (77). He rejects the established passage of days in a week in favor of determining the day based on unchanging features of life and the world around him. In this way, José Arcadio Buendía decides that, despite the prevailing societal concept of distinct days of the week, each day is essentially the same from a wider point of view. Beyond the scope of the small changes in day-to-day life, things like the sky, the sun, the plants, and the walls remain the same. Thus, José Arcadio Buendía decides that the differences that time brings in the lives of people are ultimately meaningless.

The specific choice of Monday is important, because Monday is seen as the beginning to the week’s routine, or cycle, as well as the first day of God’s creation of Earth in the Book of Genesis. If Sunday, the seventh day, is the day of rest, then Monday was the first day, when God “created the heavens and the earth.” From the very first page of the novel, Macondo serves as a symbol for the world and for human civilization as a whole. Márquez writes that “the world was so recent that many things lacked names” (1). The fact that, according to José Arcadio Buendía, it is always Monday in Macondo means that it is essentially always the first day of Creation, always the beginning of time and history. The use of Monday as a representation of this beginning day shows that the characters, storylines, and Macondo as a whole seem to exist in cycles that eventually revert back to their previous states, such as the technological influx and then eventual collapse of the town, or the repetition of incestuous relationships between characters, or the fact that characters who have the same name tend to share aspects of a collective personality. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, it is always Monday, because things always eventually revert to how they were previously, despite any apparent change that has taken place.

In the context of the insomnia plague, Monday serves as a representation of the nature of time in Macondo. During the time of the insomnia plague, the entire town was discovered to have been afflicted “that dawn on Monday.” The event began on Monday, but what is perhaps even more important is the fact that, due to their amnesia, the townspeople are beginning each day without certain knowledge or memories, thereby making each day seem like a metaphorical Monday in that it marks the beginning of another cycle of time. Furthermore, the fact that they must learn the names of things each day points to the idea that they are almost recreating the world in their minds each day; each day they are resetting a cycle, stagnant in time. Despite their apparent progress in learning the names of objects as each day progresses, or in attempting to learn of their past through Pilar Ternera’s card readings, they remain static, relying on labels to remind them of things they would otherwise forget. Furthermore, the fact that the village does not sleep during this plague connects each day together, blurring the lines between the days. In this regard, the statement that it is always Monday holds significant meaning for the insomnia plague, because it describes not only the way that the amnesia seems to reset the townspeople’s minds and lives, but also the fact that their lack of sleep blurs each successive day into the original Monday. In the case of the insomnia plague, Monday represents the way time works in Macondo; everything returns to its beginning, and ultimately change is merely an illusion, hiding the true cyclical, static nature of Macondo’s history and events.

When Colonel Aureliano Buendía is captured by the Conservatives, he is brought back to Macondo on a Monday and then given his sentence the following Monday, showing again the cyclical nature of time in the novel. The fact that both of these events occurred on a Monday strengthens the underlying meaning of Monday in the novel, as it points to the idea that Mondays are ultimately the beginning and end for Macondo’s cycles, the basis upon which time builds, constantly moving forwards but at the same time returning continuously to the same point. Colonel Aureliano’s return to Macondo occurs on a Monday, and his final departure was intended to take place on a Monday as well. These Mondays mark the end of the era of Colonel Aureliano Buendía. For a man so intent on enacting change through leading insurrections and rebellions, he ultimately was no able to escape the ultimate cycle of his life, returning to Macondo to live out his life crafting golden fish and exerting next to no influence on the town as a whole. Despite his best efforts, despite the war, and despite the deaths and changes in Macondo, none of the change is permanent in the long run. Furthermore, the fact that it is always Monday in Macondo highlights the fact that Aureliano’s return and his intended execution take place as true events of Macondo, thereby contributing to its pattern of cyclical time.

Ultimately, however, the most important mention of ‘Monday’ in the novel may not be the word ‘Monday’ at all. In Spanish, the word for Monday is lunes, which draws from the Latin dies Lunae, essentially translating to ‘day of the moon.’ The word ‘moon’ only appears once in the entire novel; the night when José Arcadio Buendía and his wife Ursula finally engage in sexual intercourse is described as “a fine June night, cool and with a moon” (22). Extrapolating from this passage, it could be said that the origin of the entirety of the Buendía line in Macondo—every José Arcadio, every Aureliano, every Amaranta—was essentially a metaphorical ‘Monday’ upon which the eventual settlement and population of Macondo was predicated. The family upon which the novel is centered all began under a moon, under the influence of the symbol of Monday; if every day in Macondo is Monday, then every day is truly the beginning of its history, showing the stagnant nature of the town when viewed as a whole. Progress and change may have occurred, but the cyclical nature of events in Macondo means that eventually, events repeat themselves, characters begin anew as the next generation grows up with the same names, and finally, the town itself eventually collapses, all remnants of civilization wiped out at the final stage of the novel.

Towards the end of the novel, José Arcadio Segundo and his son Aureliano are visited by an apparition of an old man in Melquiadés’ lab. The old man, presumably Melquiadés himself, explains that, in the world many years before they were born, “it was always March there and always Monday” (348). Like Monday, March also symbolizes beginnings: the beginning of spring, the blooming of the flowers, and other beginnings associated with the springtime. But the fact that Macondo of old was always in a stage of beginning shows that Macondo was trapped in a series of historical cycles, in which meaningful progress is never achieved. Even at this point in the novel, where it is implied that it is no longer always Monday or always March, Macondo’s progress and globalization is eventually halted as growth slows, and finally reversed by the apocalyptic winds at the end of the novel. No time period is safe from the eventual return to Monday, to the beginning, as all time in Macondo follows this highly cyclical structure. After hearing Melquiadés say this, the two characters “understood that José Arcadio Buendía was not as crazy as the family said, but that he was the only one who had enough lucidity to sense the truth of the fact that time also stumbled and had accidents” (348). This line is hugely important, as it reinforces and legitimizes the claims made my José Arcadio Buendía much earlier in the novel. If José Arcadio Buendía was “the only one who had enough lucidity” to realize that it is, in fact, always Monday, then his realization carries far more weight than any of his family members believed. Time in the novel is imperfect, as everything else is, but ultimately follows a pattern; things repeat and return to previous states. José Arcadio Buendía’s realization of this pattern through his metaphorical understanding of the concept of ‘Monday’ frames the entire novel in the context of being ‘Monday;’ that is, the story of Macondo exists as a series of cycles and a series of beginnings, and even when things come to an end, that end is ultimately only a return to the beginning.

The concept and meaning of Monday is used on multiple occasions to frame important events and stories within the novel. Due to the cyclical narrative structure, José Arcadio Buendía’s assertion that it is always Monday comes not from a place of insanity but from a place of intense clarity; he understands that the petty constructs of civilization, such as days of the week, are ultimately meaningless in the face of the unchanging world around him. While people enact change throughout their lives, the story of Macondo in conjunction with the use of ‘Monday’ show that ultimately, these changes lead to nothing; Macondo is constantly in a state of beginning, and all change eventually erodes and returns back to its original state. From every character sharing the name ‘Aureliano’ sharing similar personality traits, to the fact that Macondo itself eventually collapsed, erasing all of its apparent progress, the cyclical nature of time is extremely present in One Hundred Years of Solitude. By understanding this through the concept of ‘Monday’ in the novel as a symbol of beginnings, of Creation, and of repetitiveness, the reader can truly understand what it is that Macondo represents. Macondo’s founding is analogous to the beginning of the world, the Christian creation story, and the beginnings of human civilizations. Macondo’s fall parallels the fall of great civilizations such as Rome or Babylon—even the final character’s name, Aureliano Babilonia, contributes to this idea. Macondo, then, represents a fairly pessimistic view on humanity and civilization as a whole, because it shows that change and progress are ultimately meaningless concepts, for they eventually fade away into the constant cycles of time.

Works Cited

García Márquez, Gabriel, and Gregory Rabassa. One Hundred Years of Solitude. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006. Print.

The Fine Line Between Dreams and Memories: Comparing My Antonia and “Hands”

Dreams are usually experienced when a person is sleeping, but idealizations and memories can turn into dreams as well. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between dreams and reality, especially when thinking of the past. People may mistake what they hoped to have happened as what has actually happened, or the past can come back in a haunting way. Willa Cather’s novel My Antonia explores the idea of the past carrying both nostalgic and dream-like qualities, while Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio presents dreams and dreaming in a whole other abstract and complex way. However dreams and memories are portrayed, they strongly affect the characters in each of these stories.

My Antonia is a highly nostalgic narrative that recounts Jim Burden’s memory of life on the prairie and his dear friend Antonia. The introduction of this piece details a train conversation between Jim Burden and the “narrator” of the story. As it is suggested by Jim that the mystery narrator should write a story about Antonia, it was decided that “[he/she] would set down on paper all that [he/she] remembered about Antonia if he would do the same. [They] might, in this way, get a picture of her.” (49). This introduction already suggests the fact that the story that is written down may not be entirely accurate or true. As the story progresses, it is quickly noted that the character of Antonia seems to be greatly idealized by Jim and the story itself becomes almost dream-like. Jim clearly thinks very highly of Antonia and of life on the prairie and many of his stories seem slightly exaggerated. It is never truly known whether or not the tales recounted in My Antonia are entirely true or even true at all, but nevertheless this story is the product of the dream Jim has chosen to remember.

Sherwood Anderson’s collection of stories Winesburg, Ohio similarly reflects on the idea of dreams versus reality and how these two can oppose each other. George Willard is a seemingly impressionable young man living in the town of Winesburg, Ohio. He has found the company of Wing Biddlebaum, a strange, nervous old man who prefers the company of children to that of adults. Biddlebaum is seen to be somewhat of a hermit by the townsfolk as he usually keeps to himself, but “in the presence of George Willard, Wing Biddlebaum…[loses] something of his timidity…” (265). George Willard, seemingly most enamored by the nature of Biddlebaum’s hands, often comes to visit the old man. Dreaming is a very important aspect to Wing and his life, and he believes it to be a key element in a person’s individuality and freedom, telling George, that “[he] must begin to dream. From this time on [he] must shut his ears to the roaring of the voices” (266). The concept of dreaming is so important to Wing that he condemns George for “want[ing] to be like the others in town” (266) and even goes as far to say that he is “destroying [himself]” (266). Wing seems to be constantly living in a dream state, oblivious to reality and those who occupy this space, other than George. Wing creates a divide between his world and the real world, and requests that George chooses his world.

Although Wing seems captivated by the notion of dreaming and encourages George to the same, dreams and memories are not always a positive experience for Wing. One day with George, Wing reaches out to caress his face, but a look of horror quickly occupies his face: “Tears came to his eyes” (267). In this moment, his dream-like reality is shattered as he is thrown back into the nightmare of his past. He has attempted to forget or alter his past in his mind, but this incident with George sends him back into the horrible reality that he was once apart of. On the contrary, George Willard’s father confronts George angrily telling him that he’s “got to wake up” (271). He compares George’s actions to those of a “gawky girl” (271) as he is often seen wandering aimlessly in thought. Tom Willard claims that George is living too much in his head and he is obsessed with the success of his son in the future. In this sense dreaming is seen as not only bad but something that is effeminate…something highly inappropriate for a boy to be doing. Tom Willard’s opinions directly oppose Wing Biddlebaum’s when it comes to dreams versus reality, but Tom lives a sad and negative life. His hotel is constantly on the edge of failure, he has a terrible relationship with his wife, and he is all around just a miserable person (269).

For Jim Burden, dreaming seems to have little negative effect. He feels so much nostalgia for his past and for Antonia that he is compelled to have this story written down. Although he hopes for his friend to write the story, what he has written down is so thoughtful and well-written that his writing becomes the actual story. His writing is reflective of a positive memory, one that Jim seems to be constantly carrying. It seems as though Jim thinks of his past life quite often. It is obvious that Jim has thought very highly of Antonia for his whole life, and he even recounts their first meeting recalling that her eyes were “big and warm, and full of light, like the sun shining on the brown pools in the wood” (57). This imagery is so vivid that it seems as if Jim is actively looking into Antonia’s eyes versus looking into a memory. His memory of her is very idealized and nostalgic, just as the rest of his memories of his former life are. It is interesting to consider the idea of selective memory and how this affects these two main characters.

Both Jim Burden and Wing Biddlebaum are living in a dream world to some extent. In Jim’s case, he has chosen to remember only what he wants to from the past and these memories cumulatively become the story of My Antonia. It is difficult to say whether or not Jim ever had any truly negative experience, because his writing mostly focuses on the positive main events, most including Antonia. Winesburg, Ohio, however, presents Wing’s interactions with dreaming and memories a bit differently. It seems as though Wing attempts to live in a dream world in order to suppress his past and the desires that he still seems to feel. By choosing to live this way, he can attempt to forget the misery and pain of his past in order to live in the present. When something triggers his memory to the past, he is snapped back into reality and must face the consequences of his actions. This in turn affects his current relationships, in this case his relationship with George.

Whether or not Jim’s past was as great as he remembers, or Wing’s was as awful as he seems to recall, both men experience great emotion when visiting these past memories. While Jim’s memory seems to be more constant, Wing seems to subconsciously carry these memories that are triggered by certain actions. Wing lives happily in his current dream world, but his past is a haunting nightmare. Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish between dreams and reality, especially when thinking of the past. My Antonia explores the idea of the past carrying both nostalgic and dream-like qualities of a positive experience or one that is at least perceived in this way, while Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio shows quite the opposite. The way in which dreams and memories are portrayed in these two texts, greatly affect the main characters in contrasting ways.

Works Cited

Baym, Nina, and Robert S. Levine. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Vol. D. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. Print.

The power of storytelling in Ransom and Invictus

David Malouf’s Ransom and Clint Eastwood’s Invictus signify the powerful force of storytelling through the portrayal of their characters. In his adaptation of Homer’s Illiad, Malouf and Eastwood concede that stories can be manipulated, alluding to their reformed retelling of true events. Furthermore, both authors champion the compelling force of storytelling in reconciling polarised individuals. However, where Eastwood portrays a linear progression of events, the contrasting storytelling technique in Ransom, alludes to broader beliefs about chance and fate. Predicated upon the crises of the past, Eastwood and Malouf highlight that stories can be distorted by the storyteller. Through the lens of Post-Apartheid South Africa, Eastwood adopts a utopic portrayal of Mandela and Pienaar, while Malouf depicts a more cynical perspective of human disposition in the midst of the Trojan war.

In Invictus, Eastwood maintains an idyllic vision of the human desire to unify polarised individuals, and thus quells the innate tendency to gain reprisal. The character of Pienaar functions as a vehicle to Mandela’s visionary policies which epitomise his sentiment that ‘revenge is futile,’ while the inability to ‘forgive’ only reinforces the ‘cycle of fear’ which plagues post-Apartheid South Africa. To heighten this notion, Eastwood has primarily emphasised upon the positive aspects of their characters and their propitious influence on society. This is corroborated in the fact that Eastwood has not extensively explored any negative traits of either character in detail, although he has portrayed them as human, acknowledging Pienaar’s upbringing in a racist white household and Mandela’s complications with his family. These obscure, subtle suggestions are cautiously illustrated when Mandela exclaims that akin to his father he also wishes to engage in ‘polygamy,’ while Pienaar’s father’s response to Mandela’s presidency is ‘I never thought I’d see the day.’ However, through the use of an omniscient narrator, Eastwood purports the impression that the narration is objective, while consciously mitigating their weaker attributes. This is foregrounded in the predominant employment of tilt-up shots in the portrayal of Mandela, which endorses the notion that he is a superior, magnanimous luminary in the ‘New south Africa.’ In addition, Pienaar is similarly primarily shot in a close-up angle, which conveys his idle, impersonal character. Thus, the audience cultivates the perception that he is merely a victim of circumstance, which, in essence, is a drastic over-simplification of the role white minorities played in the South African community. Therefore, Eastwood highlights that characters can be manipulated through direction and camera techniques.

Similarly, as Eastwood manipulates the portrayal of characters through his amenable direction, Malouf accentuates the flaws of seemingly immaculate individuals. Evidently, Malouf establishes a new meaning to the Illiad for modern readers, and ‘like most storytellers, [is a] stealer of other men’s tales,’ thus suggesting that although stories can be conveyed, sometimes its meaning can be lost or modified. It is inferred that Malouf himself is alluding to the fact that he has, in a sense, stolen Homer’s identity in retelling the Iliad because he discarded the focus on the grandeur of a typical warrior’s adventure, while honing in on the tumultuous psyche in a ‘hero’s’ world. This drastically contradicts the gallant connotations typically associated with this title. Ultimately, he presents a more incredulous perspective of human character. For instance, Achilles deviates from the virtuous and forgiving character of Mandela, and instead indulges in archaic acts of vengeance, which sees his volatile grief inhibit his capacity to enact forgiveness. Following Hector’s heretical slaughtering of Patroclus, Achilles ‘mauls’ Hector’s body ‘stripped from tendon to tendon.’ Personifying Malouf’s interpretation of the human instinct to seek revenge, Achilles embodies the archetype, villainous disposition, which drastically contrasts the image of an exalted ‘warrior.’ Thus, although Achilles is trapped within a paradigm of insatiable retribution, Eastwood’s Mandela and Pienaar endorse a nation who take ‘their knives and guns and throw them into the sea.’ Furthermore, the artificial nature of the short-lived truce between Achilles and Priam distinguishes itself from the reconciliation achieved between the black and white South Africans which is of genuine national unity. Hence, through storytelling, Eastwood adheres to a vision of progress that overcomes the need for revenge, where Malouf highlights the limitations to human reconciliation.

The power of storytelling is highlighted in its ability to unite characters. This is exemplified through Somax’s narration to Priam, which enables him to venture out into the world of ‘fatherhood.’ Through the illustration of Somax, Malouf stresses upon the significance of the ‘ordinary man’ in a hero’s world; a concept that is markedly excluded from Homer’s Illiad. Both characters resonate on their past experiences, as their identities have been unwillingly distorted. This is corroborated as Priam portrays his kingship as an ‘awful responsibility’ while Somax receives his novel identity as Idaeus with a ‘silent, sullen affront.’ However, they soon establish an affinity on the grounds of their fatherhood, as Somax’s stories about his own familial relationships emancipates Priam from his constraining role as ‘the living map’ of Troy, and impels retrospection on his adequacy ‘as a father.’ This is illustrated when sharing the story of his son’s death, Somax sniffles, an ‘odd habit’ according to Priam. The use of ‘odd habit’ to describe Somax’s sadness demonstrates how Priam has never truly grieved the loss of his sons, but only the loss of a noble relationship between king and prince. Later on, Somax once again ‘sniffles’ and ‘rubs his nose’ at the thought of the ending to their journey. Similarly, Priam makes ‘small sounds’, ostensibly crying as well. The transformation of Priam from someone who failed to empathize with Somax’s tears at the beginning of the journey to a man filled with emotions demonstrates that Priam undergoes both a physical and emotional journey where he undergoes self-development and appreciation of the world around him, symbolically epitomized in his act of ‘ransom.’ Furthermore, Priam’s anecdotes act as a powerful persuasion to Hecuba which ameliorates her apprehension of the notion of ‘freewill,’ that is believed to be iconoclastic. This is portrayed when Priam relates his story of being ‘ransomed’ to highlight the volatility of his role as the ‘ceremonial figurehead.’ This transformation from an ‘indistinguishable’ man to a ‘lord of pleasures’ is a testament to the imperative role chance plays in one’s life. Thus, Priam is empowered to engage in a similar course of action to likewise ‘ransom and restore’ Hector’s body.

Consequently, as Priam’s narration of his life is a living proof of the oscillating nature of chance, Hecuba is inclined to be more accepting of a concept that she otherwise believed to be ‘blasphemous’ due to the powerful evocations of storytelling. Likewise, akin to Somax’s effect on Priam, Mandela’s psychological turmoil in incarceration is echoed through the Invictus poem, and hence, also inspires Pienaar to defy his pre-ordained fate. Mandela experienced symbolic confines due to the racial discord that renders the black natives powerless, while also being physically imprisoned which prevented him from taking action against the subjugation. However, he still pervaded unprecedented progress in South Africa. Upon hearing of his flawed past, Pienaar is similarly empowered to rise beyond his defeat, and defy the odds that the Springboks face. This is typified in the close-up shot of Pienaar who envisions Nelson Mandela in prison doing things like sitting at his bed and outside breaking rocks. Here, Pienaar is seen grasping the metal bars that isolate him and Mandela, with an eye-level shot that evokes an intimate connection with the audience. However, once the team are outside Francois again has a vision of Nelson smashing up a boulder as part of his punishment, this time though, Nelson makes eye contact with him. This is symbolic of the dissolution of the virtual barriers that divide them, and suggests that Pienaar finally accedes to the alliance with Mandela on the ‘road to reconciliation.’ This scene is accompanied by a voice-over of Henley’s poem ‘Invictus’ and the non-diegetic sound track ‘9000 days’ in order to magnify this turning point in the film.

Additionally, the lasting impact of this scene is augmented at the pinnacle of the final game, when Pienaar finds solace and strength in the phrase, ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.’ As alluded to in Henley’s poem, Pienaar realizes the importance of ‘mastering’ his ‘fate’ in the face of adversity. Evidently, through storytelling, the protagonists form connections, and are inspired to pursue development. Moreover, Eastwood portrays a linear narration of events, while Malouf opts for a non-sequential format of storytelling, which is broadly indicative of their nuanced beliefs on chance and destiny. Invictus has a definite ending because the final events give the audience closure that the pursuit has been accomplished – South Africa have won the World Cup and Nelson Mandela has united the Republic of South Africa. This sequential succession of events has been tactfully employed by Eastwood to enable the audience to fully comprehend the fruition of Mandela’s ambitions in all its ‘splendour.’ This is illustrated in the juxtaposition of the first and final scene. The initial scene portrays a stark contrast between the Afrikaners and the black natives, with the mise-en-scene alluding to the inequality between both sectors to the extent that the natives refuse to play rugby as it ‘still represents apartheid.’ However, these divides then dissipate in the final scene. Here, the bird’s eye camera angle portrays unity as the audience are seen waving the new flag, as well as, demonstrates equality by positioning everyone on the same standing. This is further augmented by the little boy, Sipho, and the Afrikaner cops who dance together in celebration following the defeat, which distinguishes from their earlier, separated stance, dissolving all barriers that divide them. Therefore, the sequential progression of events their sole reliance on the present in influencing the future, while the past is just a source of grievance. Conversely, Ransom resolves on a less conclusive note, and there are constant references to the past and future scenes in the present. This is representative of their constraining belief that allows their past and future dictate their present lives, whereas, Invictus is solely is concerned with capitulating oneself from the confines of the past.

This is corroborated in Priam’s ostensible defiance of the Trojan belief of destiny, yet he still submits to every aspect of Iris’ divinations to the extent that the ‘carter’ must resemble ‘so completely the figure in [his] dream.’ This is further exemplified when Priam negotiates with Achilles, which provokes a vision that depicts his son Neoptolemus killing Priam in retribution for Achilles’s own death in the future. It is this vision that enables Achilles to accept Priam’s pleadings so readily. Thus, the fleeting power of Gods’ over their destinies requires the two characters to metaphorically cease the inevitable progression of fate, as reflected in the truce between the Greeks and the Trojans to mourn for the dead before the ultimate destiny is fulfilled. Consequently, Malouf is essentially implying that fate and free will are not mutually inclusive, and while the opportunity for freewill exists, ultimately, destiny will always prevail. Thus, it is inferred that Priam and Achilles supposed momentary rebellion against destiny is essentially obsolete and disingenuous, while the national unity achieved in Invictus has arguably stipulated palpable, persisting reconciliation. Consequently, the mere storytelling technique of either text is a broader representation of their beliefs on chance and fate.

In conclusion, in Ransom and Invictus, storytelling plays an extensive role in the way their texts are portrayed. This is evident in the characters who establish an emotional connection with each other and unite on the grounds of common experience. Furthermore, Malouf and Eastwood have contrasting techniques of storytelling, which result in different interpretations to their literary allusions.

No Friend Like A Sister: Anne and Phaedra in The Legend of Good Women

In The Legend of Good Women, the God of Love predicates his definition of a “good woman” on the actions of surrounding characters rather than the protagonist herself. Being “virtuous” requires no action in these legends. Instead, it insists on a passive and emotional response to the action of a traitorous man. The construction of Dido and Ariadne in their respective legends follows the God of Love’s commands exactly. As such, Dido and Ariadne are morally good women. However, as protagonists, Dido and Ariadne are inadequate on two levels. As individuals, they lack any compelling depth. As narrative devices, they lack the complexity necessary to advance the story. In order to follow the God of Love’s instructions while still writing a cohesive legend, Chaucer creates secondary female characters in the form of sisters. Geoffrey’s crafting of Anne and Phaedra and manipulation of their development fills in the narrative gaps that “good” women necessitate. They are not antagonists, but a completion of their protagonist sisters. As individuals, Dido and Ariadne lack balance between feeling and thought. The narrator ignores their back stories, and their personalities are virtually indistinguishable. The men of the story are given structural precedence; Theseus and Aeneus appear before Ariadne and Dido. Additionally, the narrator develops Aeneus as a character before he arrives in Carthage, and meeting Dido does not compromise his identity as a man or as a Trojan. Likewise, Theseus comes to Crete from the troubled city of Athens, and the Minotaur threatens his life. Although the narrator disapproves of their motivations, Aeneus does have a reason to leave Dido, and Theseus has a reason to enlist Ariadne’s help. Conversely, the narrator provides no rational motivation for Dido and Ariadne’s intense emotions beyond superficial attraction and pity, and each of them is still singularly motivated by these feelings. These empty characters cannot advance the narrative and therefore threaten to keep the story at stasis. Their prior development indicates that Ariadne would continue to listen sympathetically to Theseus, and Dido would continue to lust silently after Aeneus. As such, their inadequacy as individuals begins to affect their feasibility as narrative devices. In fact, the Legend’s titles are misleading in terms of narrative. Ariadne and Dido’s importance to the story is miniscule in terms of what they actually do. A good woman only feels, but a good protagonist must also think. Because thinking and feeling are mutually exclusive for the God of Love’s purposes, Anne and Phaedra also serve as narrative devices that spur the climactic actions of their respective legends. The supposed primary action in The Legend of Ariadne is Ariadne’s decision to supply Theseus with a weapon and a way out of the labyrinth. However, Phaedra originates the idea, and the pity that motivates their assistance is plural – “and of his wo they had compassioun” (1974, emphasis added). The responses to Theseus’ plight sound very similar. Ariadne says that “He shall be holpen, how so that we do!” and Phaedra says “To his help the beste reed I can…” However, the threshold of Phaedra’s capability is much higher than Ariadne’s. The key difference is between Ariadne’s “we” and Phaedra’s “I.” They both feel pity for Theseus, but only Phaedra can act on her feelings. Phaedra continues her statement of pity with a plan to actually save Theseus, and this plan eventually succeeds. While Anne does not significantly affect the end of The Legend of Dido, she serves to absorb and process Dido’s excessive emotion while also providing a rational balance to Dido’s feelings. Unlike the story of Phaedra and Ariadne, Dido’s emotions eventually take precedence over Anne’s thinking. When Dido speaks to her sister about Aeneus, she speaks only of Aeneus’ superficial qualities – “me thinketh he is so well y-wrought/And eek so lykly for to be a man” (151). Although Anne does not encourage Dido to pursue Aeneus, she does “seyde as hir thoughte, and somdel it withstood” (151). This brief interjection is representative of the internal struggle that a fully developed Dido would experience when considering the pros and cons of marrying Aeneus.The final scenes of each legend illustrate Dido and Ariadne as singular characters after being abandoned by their respective men. Without a complementary character to create variation, the scenes are necessarily similar. Theseus and Aeneus both leave while the women are sleeping, and they both sail to places more politically viable than Naxos or Carthage. To remain in character, Dido and Ariadne also must remain in stasis for the completion of the legends. Physically, Ariadne stays on Naxos, and Dido stays in Carthage. Emotionally, they spend their final moments as protagonists “compleining” (“Ariadne” 2216, “Dido” 1357). Dido’s suicide is more dramatic than Ariadne’s planting of a white flag, but both illustrate the same point. Without Theseus and Aeneus, Ariadne and Dido are narratively stuck. Because bad men created their identities as good women, their individual stories can no longer progress without Aeneus and Theseus. Phaedra and Anne play substantially different roles in the classical versions of these myths because they are primarily characters rather than narrative devices. In the Heroides, simply hearing Ariadne’s voice rather than the narrator’s develops her character well beyond the confines of the God of Love’s instructions. Ariadne is not merely wrought with grief but rationally angry about his betrayal. The addressee of Theseus’ Legend’s promises are ambiguous, but the Heroides clarifies that Theseus “said to [Ariadne]: “By these very perils of mine, I swear that, so long as both of us shall live, thou shalt be mine!” (Heroides 59) In addition, Ariadne takes credit for her role in saving Theseus: “O Theseus, had not slain with knotty club him that was man in part, and in part bull; and I had not given thee the thread to show the way of thy return – thread oft caught up again and passed through the hands led on by it” (Heroides, para. 99) Additionally, in the Metamorphoses, Ovid gives Ariadne full credit and agency for her actions in saving Theseus and no fault for leaving Crete with Theseus: “The door/So difficult, which none of those before/Could find again, by Ariadne’s aid/Was found, the thread that traced the way rewound/Then Theseus, seizing Minos’ daughter, spread/His sails for Naxos, where, upon the shore/That cruel prince abandoned her and she/Abandoned, in her grief and anger found/Comfort in Bacchus’ arms” (Metamorphoses 176). The action of the two versions is essentially identical, but the display of Ariadne’s thought process lends credence to her emotions and therefore develops her character. Even though Ariadne leaves Crete with Theseus unwillingly in the Metamorphoses, Ovid provides a story for her after Theseus abandons her. Her grief and anger lead to action—the finding of comfort in Bacchus’ arms. Tellingly, Phaedra goes unmentioned in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Heroides because she is unnecessary as a narrative device. A fully developed Ariadne does not require a Phaedra to think for her or initiate a plan. Likewise, Anna plays no role in Dido’s Heroides letter and a small but emotional role in The Aeneid. After Dido kills herself in The Aeneid, Anna takes on a role much like Dido in her Legend by considering herself a victim and blaming Dido for her selfishness:So this is what it meant? It was all to deceive your sister! This was the purpose of the pyre and the flames and the altars! You have abandoned me. I do not know how to begin to reproach you. Did you not want your sister’s company when you were dying? You could have called me to share your fate and we would both have died in the same moment of the same grief (Virgil 244)Similarly, after Aeneus leaves Dido, she implores him to “now to wyfe take/As ye han sworn, than wol I yeve yow leve/To sleen me with your swerd now sone at eve” (1319-22). Both Virgil’s Anne and Chaucer’s Dido are willing to sacrifice their own lives in order to the ones they love, even to death. Anna’s character has room to be emotional because Dido is more dignified and rational in the Aeneid. The conversation during which Dido and Anna consider Dido’s marriage to Aeneus also differs completely, not only in its level of development. In Legend, Dido expresses her emotional attraction and Anna rebuffs her. However, in the Aeneid, they both show a balanced consideration of Dido’s emotional and political stake in the potential marriage. Just as in the Legend, Dido describes Aeneus’ physical appearance and qualifications as a warrior but insists that she is “set and immovably fixed against joining any man in the bonds of marriage ever since death cheated me of my first love” (Virgil 232). Instead of arguing against the marriage, Anne rationally offers the benefits to such a marriage by appealing to Dido’s emotional and political sense: “O sister. . .are you going to waste away. . .without knowing the delight of children and the rewards of love?” and “. . .what a city and what a kingdom you will see rising here if you are married to such a man!” (232-3). After the conversation ends, Anna has “lit a fire of wild love in her sister’s breast” (233). Although Anna does not play the same weighted narrative role as Phaedra, she does call attention to Dido’s inadequacy and resolves it by thinking. The decision to change the importance of Anne and Phaedra also manipulates the meaning of the collective Legend of Good Women. If this is Chaucer’s manipulation, then it only serves as commentary for conceptions of good women. However, if this is Geoffrey’s manipulation, this develops the narrator as a character. By providing complementary characters, he implies that Dido and Ariadne’s naïve virtue is not enough. Consequently, Geoffrey intentionally subverts the God of Love’s instructions in a way that he knows superficial reading will not catch. If Anne and Phaedra served as antagonists to Dido and Ariadne, they would either have to be bad or the real “good” women. A superficial reading implies that they are “bad” women because they do not fit the God of Love’s instructions. However, an ironic reading of the legends implies that Anne and Phaedra are good, while Dido and Ariadne are actually bad. However, as completions of Dido and Ariadne, Anne and Phaedra are also lacking. Anne argues against Dido’s marriage to Aeneus, and even though this turns out to be the correct decision, it discounts Dido’s feelings of love. If Phaedra does willingly leave the island with Theseus, then she ignores her sister’s feelings in favor of political gain. Morally, Dido and Ariadne can stand alone as good women. As narrative characters, however, Dido and Ariadne must be considered with Anne and Phaedra in order to be women at all.

Shakespeare, Welles, and Style: Auteur Techniques in Othello (1951)

Othello is a 1951 Shakespearean drama produced, directed and adapted by Orson Welles who also stars as the titular lead. It is also considered one of the greatest acting performances to be showcased by the auteur. In this essay, I will be analysing the personalized interpretation of the source material – Othello (The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice) by William Shakespeare – by Orson Welles for the development of the film noir genre.[1] As an “auteur, Welles used novel cinematic techniques to create an altered visualization of the text to achieve filmic effect and the richness of the aesthetic created in order to visually adapt an action-packed play. Of key interest, here, is an extract from Act V Scene II, which roughly translates to the scenes in the 1:16:16 – 1:20:30 timeframe in the movie.

In this scene, Othello is on his way to his bedchamber, ready to confront his wife over her alleged unfaithfulness with the lieutenant Cassio. He dramatically walks through the hall snuffing out the candles on his way. In the bedchamber, Othello stands over the sleeping Desdemona while debating to kill her. He bends down to kiss her one last time before he does the deed when she suddenly wakes and enquires about the mysterious presence. He tells her to prepare to die. Growing frightened, Desdemona asks her husband why he means to kill her, and Othello responds that she has been unfaithful to him with Cassio, corroborated by the “ocular proof” of her handkerchief. Othello refuses to believe her denial of the charge, saying that Cassio has confessed but will speak no more (because he is dead). Desdemona begins to weep for Cassio, which only drives Othello into further rage. He wrestles with her as she begs to be spared but Othello succeeds in smothering his wife to death.[2] This extract is possibly the best example of direct adaptation of the source text. The dialogue completely follows the source material accompanied by heavy editing and interchanging cutting on action shots. This creates a sense of distance – visually communicated through the short walk from the hall to the bedchamber, which goes on for the entirety of the monologue. In contrast, there is heavy omission of non-noir parts of the play and major dialogue along the rest of the film which lays more emphasis on Othello than Iago and creates a character-driven plot. The use of speed is used to create the suspense alongside its primary function of placing the entire monologue in the same setting. The real triumph is the feeling of fear, mistrust, bleakness, loss of innocence, despair and paranoia, communicated through the liberal use of highly contrasted chiaroscuro. The dark background puts the characters in focus that deliver their lines with chilling gravity and somberness.

According to a press release by Carlotta Films, the distributors of the latest revision of the original Welles movie, “For this second adaptation, Welles appropriates the original text to offer a personal interpretation, opting for an inventive mise-en-scène with baroque aesthetics. He takes the liberty of starting at the end of the play, and then proceeds to a flashback that constitutes the rest of the film. The precarious shooting conditions help create an oppressive atmosphere, close to madness: Welles’s Othello is a whimsical stranger slowly pushed into an infernal downward spiral by the vile Iago. Allowing himself to make some cuts from the original play, his Othello reveals itself as pure entertainment cinema, with an excessiveness that is truly Wellesian.”[3] As has been widely reported, the film went through a series of financial roadblocks while in production, which possibly contributed to the use cut and paste editing resulting in a coarse visionary masterpiece mired by financial troubles. Since the production was hindered with distribution disruptions, the target audience for the film cannot be pinpointed and the shift from a traditional Shakespearean adaptation points to a widening target demographic. Upon the arrival of Othello into the bedchamber, the placement of characters in the frame is indicative of who is in power in this particular scene. The absence of the background, which at this point is a black mass, places the characters in a vacuum where the audience is not given any visual cues due to the extreme close-up angle. The framing is possibly indicative of Welles’s continuing experimentation with the film noir genre as the surprise element in the scene is not entirely specified in the source material and hence can be seen as a non-diegetic device used to further Welles’s attempt at auteurship. Combined with the chiaroscuro elements, this scene cements the film noir element of this movie. The characters speak in hushed voices indicating a private and intimate mood for conversation.

The intonation practiced by Orson Welles’s places severity on his delivery of the monologue which when contrasted with the surprised and feminine high-pitched voice of Desdemona creates a dark and mysterious plot. The characters are in close proximity adding to the dark intimacy of the scene. In particular, Orson Welles’s Othello has exceptional acumen of mise-en-scène present in the entirety of the production. Each scene is crafted with punctilious detail, sort of like a puzzle of different scenes coming together to form a visually rich output. This combined with the odd placement of the source material – the film starts with the ending of the play – creates an inherent confusion for the viewer who from the outset can expect that the plot is not going to closely follow the source material. The use of jump cuts provides both points of views and gives the audience a sense of the range of different emotions being experienced by the characters on screen.

Welles’s placement of the characters is also crucial. For the most part Othello remains on the top left frame while Desdemona remains on the bottom right, which successfully keeps the power dynamics in balance and gives the audience many foregrounding cues. Expressions of bewilderment make for Desdemona’s contribution to the suspense of the scene. Combined with the image of her clutching her dress in a stereotypically weakened lying position. These visual cues reinforce the themes of pessimism and fatalism, which are the overreaching themes presented in the Wellesian adaptation of an already dark Shakespearean tragedy. Building the suspense by slowly turning out the lights while walking through the dramatic arches of the fort creates a dark and menacing mood in the scene where audiences unaware of Shakespeare’s text can still predict that something dark is about to happen. The build-up is long and slow with cutting-on-action shots flitting between the hall and the chamber, pre-empting the arrival of Othello into the bedchamber. There are elements of a horror movie with Desdemona questioning the mysterious presence and Othello suddenly emerging from the shadows to concede his presence, which are in contention with the overall film noir theme of the movie.

Possibly, this could be an accidental foray into multi-genre film on Welles’s part. The overall purpose of this film was possibly to further the auteurship of Orson Welles and to create a new platform for dark plots and darker cinematography in 1950s cinema. It also served a dual purpose of transforming Shakespeare on film and pushing the boundaries of adapted screenwriting. During the making and distribution of this film, Welles was developing his film noir trope and audiences were introduced to this new genre of filmmaking in the preceding years. It was also speculated that Othello was a follow-up to Welles’s other film noir masterpiece The Lady From Shanghai.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. A TRAGIC, POETIC, AND VISUALLY STUNNING WORK FROM THE DIRECTOR OF CITIZEN KANE A FILM BY AND STARRING ORSON WELLES PALME D’OR 1952 BASED ON THE PLAY BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE A CARLOTTA FILMS US RELEASE carlottafilms-us.com ([n.p.]: [n.pub.], 2014) 2. Brody, Richard, ‘Orson Welles’s Shattering ‘Othello’’, The New Yorker, 25 April 2014 3. Crowther, Bosley, ‘Orson Welles revises ‘Othello’; scraps Shakespeare’s plot for visual effect’, The New York Times 1955 4. Othello, dir. by Orson Welles (1951) 5. Young, Toni, Shakespeare and the twentieth century: The selected proceedings of the international Shakespeare association world congress, Los Angeles, 1996, ed. by Jonathan Bate, Jill L. Levenson, and Dieter Mehl (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1998) 6. . Orson Welles’ Othello [The original motion picture Score] – original soundtrack | songs, reviews, credits(AllMusic, 1993). 7. Shakespeare, William, Othello (Wordsworth classics) (Wordsworth classics), ed. by Cedric Watts (London, United Kingdom: NTC/Contemporary Publishing Company, 1992) [1] Shakespeare, William, Othello (Wordsworth classics) (Wordsworth classics), ed. by Cedric Watts (London, United Kingdom: NTC/Contemporary Publishing Company, 1992) 1. [2] Othello, dir. by Orson Welles (1951) [3] A TRAGIC, POETIC, AND VISUALLY STUNNING WORK FROM THE DIRECTOR OF CITIZEN KANE A FILM BY AND STARRING ORSON WELLES PALME D’OR 1952 BASED ON THE PLAY BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE A CARLOTTA FILMS US RELEASE carlottafilms-us.com ([n.p.]: [n.pub.], 2014)

MaddAddam as a Biblical Allegory

The MaddAddam series by Margaret Atwood can best be described as a commentary on every aspect of society. One of the most prevalent themes in Atwood’s series is religion, which is apparent in the names she assigns to different aspects of her society(God’s Gardeners), and in the many biblical references and symbols such as the snakes used at Scales and Tails, tempting their morally corrupt customers. Throughout each one of the individual novels, many blatantly religious aspects are integrated, but upon reflecting on the series as a whole, the obvious biblical plot becomes clear. Atwood uses symbolism, character development, and tone to develop the MaddAddam series as a biblical allegory.

Beginning in Oryx and Crake, the plot and symbolism serve to set up the proceeding events. The novel starts with the idea that everyone in the futuristic society is trying to play God, through gene experimentation and excessive scientific “progress”. Already, we begin to see how this society mimics that of the Old Testament, in the fact that people have begun to think themselves invincible; acting selfishly and without morality. Then the flood is introduced. The idea of the flood is derived from the flood in which God allowed Noah to survive along with the animals destined to repopulate the earth. In Atwood’s flood, Jimmy is designated to survive by Crake and is meant to take care of the Crakers, who are to repopulate the world.

In the novels, Crake obviously fulfills the role of God, taking matters of life and death of the human race into his own hands. He creates a new race of humanoid Crakers, and seems almost all-knowing when he allows Jimmy to kill him and rear this new race of creatures. He is also worshipped as a God in the post-flood world. “Yes. Good, kind, Crake. Please stop singing or I can’t go on with the story,” the Crakers are permitted to think lovingly of their creator while Jimmy knows the true nature of Crake; he allows them to see their creator as a merciful, kind one, rather than a vengeful god (Oryx and Crake 64). In this way he acts much like Jesus in the New Testament. It also becomes clear through Jimmy’s backstory that he is a flawed individual, who does not act as everyone else expects him to behave. Atwood paints him as a portrayal of Jesus Christ, who comes to save humanity, not as a god, but as a flawed hero. After the flood, Jimmy acts as a spiritual guide and teacher to the Crakers, teaching them about their history and encouraging them to ritualize and worship Crake and Oryx. But the culmination of Jimmy’s symbolism as Jesus Christ appears in MaddAddam, when he sacrifices his own life for the betterment of society through saving Toby, who goes on to teach the Crakers to write.

Atwood also develops the biblical mood of the series through her use of tone. The atmosphere and mindset of the God’s Gardeners create an extremely religious tone for the entirety of The Year of the Flood. “The task of saving the chosen species was given to Noah,” Atwood alludes to the Bible, “keeping God’s beloved species safe until the waters of the Flood had receded,” ( The Year of the Flood 90). Lines like these help to reinforce not only the Biblical references in Atwood’s novels, but the story of Jimmy acting as Jesus Christ. Atwood also perpetuates the tone in Oryx and Crake, before integrating the teachings of God’s Gardeners, with concepts such as Jimmy’s idolization of a woman who is not morally upright. His adoration of Oryx despite her morally skewed background creates a tone which correlates with the mindset that Christians are implored to uphold.

At first glance, many of Atwood’s biblical references seem like satirical quips, made in an attempt to poke fun at religious institutions and their followers. Upon reading the entire MaddAddam series, however, the reader understands that each religious allusion is in fact part of a series-wide portrayal of events written in the Bible. In this way, Atwood satirizes writing itself, and her own series, as well as the compelling need of humanity to depend on a set of beliefs, as we see through the upbringing of the Crakers. Margaret Atwood crafts this elaborate satire through her use of symbolism, character development, and tone, to prove that our human tendencies truly cannot be changed or wiped out. Even in a world that seems so far gone from what the reader knows, the same human desires are what drive the cyclical, inevitable downfall of mankind.

A comparison of the poets present romantic love in ‘Neutral Tones’ by Thomas Hardy and ‘Winter Swans’ by Owen Sheers

In the lyric poem Neutral Tones by Thomas Hardy, the speaker reflects back to a particular moment in their life when they realised that the love had died between them and the person they were in a relationship with. They consider what this moment has meant to them since. Winter Swans describes a couple that are walking through the ‘gulping mud’ alongside a lake in winter. They are ‘silent and apart’. When the swans arrive, the pair stop to watch the birds and their ‘show of tipping unison’. The swans could be seen as reflecting the relationship between the couple. Both poems Neutral Tones and Winter Swans are about the temporal nature of love and the complications and conflicts that arrive in long term relationships. However, whereas in neutral tones, the poet is talking about a couple were not able to regain the love they once had for another, in Winter Swans the poet is exploring the superficial nature of love.

In Neutral tones, the poet uses the motif of draining color to reflect how the love has drained from their relationship. “The sun was white”, “They had fallen from an ash and were grey”, “and a pond edged with greyish leaves”. Here, the repeated use of the colors white and grey are particularly important because they are dull colors which do not have any meaning, pointing to the fact that their relationship was lacking any meaning or color. Interestingly, Winter swans explores the motif of winter weather: The “clouds”, the “days of rain”. Winter is a time when the world is still and dead, when it seems like nothing is growing. Yet it is also a precursor to spring, to renewed life and hope, which we see with the “afternoon light” which marks the change in mood, and the speaker’s perspective of their relationship. In Winter swans, the poet also explores the idea of color. There is a sense in which the end of the relationship is inevitable, until the swan’s arrival “came and stopped us”, and the use of positive images of color following this, imply a rebirth of positive feelings between the pair. “Icebergs of white feather”, the use of the color white suggests purity and positivity, the iceberg suggests a depth of feeling between the couple that we, as onlookers, perhaps cannot see, whilst porcelain is something beautiful, valuable and fragile: to be handles with care, like this relationship. Both poets Hardy and Sheers use form to emphasize their themes.

In Neutral tones, the first and last lines of each stanza rhyme, this rhyme scheme reflects how the memory of a past experience returns to affect the narrator in the present. The indented final line of each stanza slows the pace of the poem by creating a pause, this hints at his sadness that the relationships failed. In Winter Swans the poem is mostly written in tercets, which makes each stanza look unbalanced. The uneven line length and lack of rhyme scheme also contribute to a feeling of disjointedness which reflects the troubled nature of the couple’s relationship. However, frequent enjambment emphasizes its continuity. The final stanza of the poem is a couplet, which shows that they have been reunited as a couple.

Similarly, both poets Hardy and Sheers structure their poems differently to emphasize their respective themes. Whilst in Neutral tones, we see that the poem is structured in a shape that reflects the rhyme scheme, as the last verse repeats the description of the first verse by the pond. This suggests that the speaker’s future ideas about love have been shaped and entrapped by the memory of this failed relationship. In Winter Swans, the narrator and his partner are separated for the first five stanzas, but they reunite in the final two. The swans provide a turning point at the start of stanza three, they’re beautiful and inspirational, in contrast to earlier descriptions of nature as a place of suffering. This reflects how the couple have reached a turning point in their relationship.

To conclude, when taken together, these poems work to emphasize the idea that love is complex, superficial and often involves conflict, but can sometimes last if we are willing to overcome difficult periods. In Neutral Tones the poet presents the ideal of love as something deep and lasting, when in truth it is quickly lost, replaced by boredom and indifference. However, in Winter Swans, the poet sees love as something that can always be reconciled after an argument, in this case the couple are reconciled after seeing a symbol of love: The swans. The swans’ lifelong mating provides the couple with a reminder that love can last and that “rough weather” can be overcome. The difference in perspective may be explained by the poet’s respective contexts. Thomas Hardy was distanced from his society, both geographically and philosophically: as “among the earliest acclaimers of the origin of species”, he had lost his Christian faith. Both forms of distance lent his writings an unparalleled pessimism. Hardy thus depicted the suffering and loneliness of man in an often malevolent and always uncaring universe. However, Owen Sheers is a contemporary poet who grew up in south wales. Much of contemporary poetry draws on postmodern values, and consequently is skeptical about love’s ability to last. Here, Sheers presents relationships as difficult, but through the natural imagery of swans’ lifelong devotion, suggests love between two people can triumph.

Disillusionment

In Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, Colonel Aureliano Buendía experiences several metamorphoses that grant him his multidimensional character. However, these metamorphoses become regressive, and he finds himself in despair as he struggles with the never-ending cycle of his transformations. He constantly fluctuates between his polar identities as scientist and as soldier, and he eventually loses any true commitment to either. Each shift from one persona to the other causes Aureliano to become more disillusioned with his nature and further entangled in his nostalgia, leading eventually to his demise. Aureliano is Márquez’s greatest harbinger of the eventual demise of the Buendía family, a foreshadowing of the disaster to come.After the Liberals lose their fruitless war and the Colonel recognizes his growing hubris, he falls back into his hermetic cocoon, where he begins to manufacture gold fishes in his workshop. His obsession with science leads to a greater withdrawal from society, but his nostalgia for waging war brings him back to his pride. Considered the original and the most serious of sins, pride further handicaps Aureliano from humility and from love, a trait of which he seems to be incapable. Though he relapses back to his gold fishes, he is already hardened by his many battles and experiences a complete detachment from people as well as from himself. Colonel Aureliano’s entrance into adulthood serves as his greatest and most significant transformation. His jump from the laboratory into the war is a complete shock to the reader and one of the most powerful character modifications in the novel. As Aureliano spends “interminable hours in the abandoned laboratory, learning the art of the silver work,” he begins to craft his cocoon (Márquez 39). He becomes “concentrated so much on his experiments… that he scarcely [leaves] the laboratory to eat” and assumes an impervious lifestyle, completely devoted to alchemy (Márquez 40). Aureliano’s ignorance, due to his hermetism, becomes obvious when he throws extra coins into a prostitute’s hopper not out of desire or need, but out of pity and guilt. He devotes himself to a mad proposal of marrying this prostitute and freeing her from the “despotism of her grandmother,” but is aggravated when he discovers she has left town and resigns himself “to being a womanless man for all his life — in order to hide the shame of his uselessness” (Márquez 53).Aureliano’s shell experiences its first crack upon the arrival of Don Apolinar Moscote’s family. The magistrate brings his wife and seven daughters to settle in the Hotel Jacob, where they are met by José Arcadio and Aureliano. Despite Aureliano’s lackadaisical attitude towards women, he is mesmerized by the image of Don Moscote’s youngest daughter, Remedios. The nine-year-old’s “lily-colored skin and green eyes” become a physical sensation that “bothers [Aureliano] when he walks, like a pebble in his shoe” (Márquez 58). Aureliano is troubled by the thought of Remedios and tormented by his loneliness. His detachment from science becomes most evident when he welcomes Remedios into his laboratory. His focus shifts from dedication to his work to a newfound obsession with Remedios. Aureliano grants her entrance into his realm of alchemy and offers her his little fish with a level of eagerness that startles Remedios and causes her to flee. As Aureliano falls deeper in love, everything in his life starts to remind him of Remedios, and he begins to neglect his work. “The house [becomes] full of love” and Aureliano expresses it in poetry that has no beginning or end: “on the harsh pieces of parchment… on the bathroom walls, on the skin of his arms,” in all of which Remedios appears (Márquez 65). As their marriage is arranged, Aureliano’s priorities experience an earthquake: he becomes closer to his bride and he moves farther from his alchemy. However, before his transformation can fully sink in, “[Remedios] wakes up in the middle of the night soaked in a hot broth which exploded in her insides… and dies three days later, poisoned by her own blood” (Márquez 68). The miscarriage causes Aureliano to once again become disoriented, trapped in a state of withdrawal, and fervent for another outlet from his solitude. He begins to bury his affection for Remedios and his love for the world, leaving only his poetry as a souvenir. The soon-to-be Colonel completes his first cycle, a transformation from silversmith to lover and a regression from man of sentiment to medieval science devotee. The conflict between the Liberal and Conservative party erupts at an opportune moment for Aureliano. He sees the war as an outlet to his emotional turmoil and takes an identity different from anything in his past. Though he is initially impartial to any politics, Aureliano observes the magistrate unlawfully break open the ballot box and cheat for the Conservative side, “leaving only ten red [votes] and making up the difference with the blue [votes]” (Márquez 96). Sympathizing with the Liberals and understanding the disadvantages of being the opposition, Aureliano states that “If [he] has to be something [he will] be a Liberal…because the conservatives are tricky” (Márquez 96). After witnessing Don Apolinar Moscote’s subterfuge, Aureliano reaches out to the young people in Macondo and embarks on a stealthy campaign against the Conservative travesty. He announces that “the only effective [approach] is violence,” and despite his ties with the magistrate, crafts a plan of intervention with the Conservative establishment (Márquez 98). Obsessed with the imminence of war, Aureliano breaks free from his solitude and begins another metamorphosis of character. As he begins to lead the rebellion, Aureliano grants himself the title of “Colonel” and eventually conquers Macondo for the Liberals. Aureliano’s new identity as a soldier-figure paves the way for him to grow into the legendary but erratic leader of the Liberal armies. When the Liberals lose the war, Colonel Aureliano falls prisoner to his enemies and is condemned to death. His execution is scheduled to be carried out in Macondo “as a lesson to the population,” and he begins to understand the emptiness of the war, stating that “A person fucks himself up so much… just so that six weak fairies can kill him and he can’t do anything about it” (Márquez 128). However, when he is miraculously rescued by Jose Arcadio, Aureliano begins another war on the spot. He “contact[s] the dormant Liberals” and organizes another uprising, the first of thirty-two that fail and underline the worthlessness of the war (Márquez 129). Even with his realization that “[the war] doesn’t have any meaning for anyone,” Aureliano is blinded by his own pride and determined to continue the Liberal regime (Márquez 136). A war mentality takes over the Colonel and keeps him from understanding why he continues to fight for the party, fundamentally detaching him from his true feelings. The root cause of many other sins, pride initiates a desire within Aureliano to be more important than others, but this need is quickly extinguished when he discovers the lack of light at the end of the war’s tunnel. The small success that the Liberals experience arouses an “illusion of victory” that Aureliano understands is false, leaving him with the “feeling of being hemmed in against the sea” and in a desperate search for a “loophole through which he [can] escape” (Márquez 134). In his quest to find this “loophole,” Aureliano battles his pride and eventually prevails, but the end of his struggle only marks the beginning of another. Losing faith in the war, Aureliano loses faith in a life after the war as well. He decays into a shell of the man he used to be, enticed by the nostalgia of his former life but then relapsing into a soldier, this time fighting against his own Liberal party in an attempt to end the war. Aureliano thus completes another cycle, from warrior to hermit and back to fighter. As Aureliano collapses back into a solitary lifestyle, he cannot help but notice the flaws of the war and the need for an end. Whether he genuinely yearns for war or merely wants to see it over with, Colonel Aureliano “scratch[es] for many hours, trying to break the hard shell of his solitude” (Márquez 169). Eventually, he returns to the war but now fights for “his own liberation and not for abstract ideals” (Márquez 170). But this second attempt at war only weakens Aureliano when he realizes he has betrayed the same party that he so enthusiastically fought for. His attempt and failure at suicide leaves him in a state of emotional hardness, where “he makes one last effort to search in his heart for the place where his affection had rotted away” and realizes he cannot find it (Márquez 173). His memories have been buried so deep that even the thought of Remedios appears a hazy image of someone who may have been his daughter, rather than his wife. He acknowledges that all of his travels and conquests have left no trace in his feelings and that ultimately, “all had been wiped out by the war” (Márquez 173). Instead of attempting to revive any emotion, Aureliano decides to bury it once and for all; he reduces his old poetry to ashes. He tries to put the past farther and farther behind him by getting rid of his memories, but the emptiness only leaves him with “the nostalgia of glory” (Márquez 176). Realizing he cannot get rid of his longing for war, Aureliano takes refuge in his workshop and “loses all contact with the reality of the nation” (Márquez 198).Once again, Aureliano abandons one identity for another. However, this time he does not approach his work in gold with the same enthusiasm. Aureliano has been hardened and exhausted by his wars and seeks the making of gold fishes as a sanctuary rather than a true hobby. His only relationship with the rest of the world becomes his business in these little gold fish; he even shudders at the thought of war and tells others “don’t talk to me about politics” (Márquez 198). Márquez throws Aureliano into a vicious cycle of exchanging gold fishes for gold coins only to convert these coins into more fishes, only to underline the cycle that Aureliano is experiencing on the inside. Because of his restless nature, Aureliano’s dedication to his workshop cannot rid him of his nostalgia for rebellion. Though he commits his eyes and his hands to his work, he cannot close his ears to the world outside his shop.When Aureliano finds out about Mr. Brown and the banana plantations, he states, “Look at the mess we’ve got ourselves into, just because we invited a gringo to eat some bananas” (Márquez 228). Aureliano loses his calm over this foreign invasion and falls back into the cycle: “I’m going to arm my boys so we can get rid of these shitty gringos!” (Márquez 238). He immediately abandons his manufacture of little fishes and directs his efforts toward finding means to wage another war. Aureliano visits Colonel Gerineldo Márquez, who at the time was “really the only one who could have pulled… the musty strings of rebellion,” and pleads for help to start a “mortal conflagration” against the foreign invader (Márquez 242). Colonel Gerineldo, however, only feels pity for Aureliano and rebuffs his idea. Aureliano falls deeper into his emptiness, feeling abandoned by his comrade, his party, and, ultimately, Macondo. Unable to find help for the pressing issue, Aureliano is discouraged and relapses back to his workshop.The banana plantation ordeal would mark Colonel Aureliano’s last cry for war. After his last attempt, he recedes away from the idea and completes the last half of his final cycle by locking himself up in his world of gold fishes. However, Aureliano decides to stop selling his fish and begins to make dozens, only to melt them down and start all over again. As Aureliano’s internal cycle actually manifests itself in the external cycle of making and remaking gold fish, he falls into a deeper trap of nostalgia. One day, while standing in the courtyard, he accepts this nostalgia for “the first time since his youth” and momentarily relives the “prodigious afternoon of the gypsies” (Márquez 264). When he hears Santa Sofía de la Piedad shout that the circus is coming, Aureliano begins to think about the circus, searching for the circus from his past but realizes that “he can no longer find the memory” (Márquez 267).In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Márquez uses Colonel Aureliano’s vicious cycle to warn how the Buendía family may also spiral towards its eventual destruction. Aureliano’s metaphor is especially symbolic because of its incessant nature, even after his death. His vice continues to plague future generations, as José Arcadio Segundo aligns himself with the strikers with the same sense of disillusionment that gripped Colonel Aureliano in his fight for the Liberals. The seventeen Aurelianos are targeted and most are executed, marked by the permanent cross of ashes on their foreheads that symbolizes the permanent stain the Colonel has left on the Buendía family.Colonel Aureliano’s polar interests cause him to run back and forth from one addiction to another, each time becoming less tolerant of the withdrawals and giving in to the nostalgias more often. Nostalgia, whether for war or for work, begins to come sooner with each cycle; each period of soldier and scientist becomes shorter and shorter. The Colonel lives for these two aspects and is unable to find excitement in anything else. Once he is confronted by the possibility of losing skill in both, he sees no point in life. Early in his metamorphoses, Aureliano acknowledges his imminent death and embraces the idea, stating that he is merely “waiting for [his] funeral procession to pass” (Márquez 199). Aureliano stretches himself so thin over both personas that, with old age, he has less and less of himself to devote to either. After taking his last refuge in the workshop, Aureliano is overcome by a loss of memory and a lack of sentiment. He becomes completely detached, not only from society, but from himself. As he fails to connect with any past emotion, he becomes blind to his interests and, in the end, blind to life. Even his family is unable to distinguish the “[person] who had spent his adolescence making little gold fishes with that of the mythical warrior who had placed a distance of ten feet between himself and the rest of humanity” (Márquez 171). Aureliano’s fluctuations between his two characters make him disoriented in the world and increasingly nostalgic for his past. In the end, Aureliano can no longer recognize the most effortless aspects of life; he buries his memories, stows away his feelings, and eventually loses himself. BibliographyMárquez, Gabriel García. One Hundred Years of Solitude. 1st Perennial Classics ed. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006. 417. Print.