American Novels Influences
Eileen Chang’s Literary Works and Their Influences Research Paper
Updated: Nov 5th, 2020
Eileen Chang is a prominent figure in the Chinese literary world of the 1940s. Chinese literature encompasses a wide range of literary theories and genres associated with many cultural factors. However, Chinese literature traditionally has been male-dominated and the voice of the Chinese women writers was marginalized. However, Eileen Chang is one of the few female authors who have successfully made a mark in the male-dominated Chinese literary circle. Her work transgressed all the traditional literary boundaries and created a new literary style, distinct from the classical technique.
Her familial heritage and residence in a cosmopolitan city enabled her to express her feelings more openly, which others found exceedingly difficult in other parts of the parochial country. Moreover, her distinctive personal observation and understanding about life, society, culture, and politics created a unique ensemble in her stories that the writers of her time were unable to capture. Her presence in the Chinese literary circle has created a separate space for women writers as well as made space for new literary ideas. Her writings show the modern life of Shanghai and how modern western ideals clashed with traditional Chinese values to create a unique culture. Therefore, the aim of the essay is to discuss the characteristic of Eileen Chang’s literary writings and the significant influences, which her literary writings bring to contemporary literature.
Significance of Eileen Chang’s Literary Works
Eileen Chang’s work assumes a significant place in Chinese literature. For decades, literary critics were unsure as to where her works should be placed. They were uncertain about its genre and technique as well as the themes. More importantly, they were unsure as to where her works could be placed in the historical literary process of Chinese literature. Her work is significant as it reverberates a new form of reality that the Chinese literature did not exploit. For instance, in modern Chinese literature, there are varied ideas about the definition of an ordinary man. Some believe that the literature of the ordinary man should comprise of an unadorned and pure story of the life of the common people as opposed to that of the nobility.
Thus, there should always be an element of morality and existence in stories dealing with the ordinary man. Then the proliferation of the communist literature in the 1920s gave birth to a distinct class identity known as the common or the ordinary people. Broadly, Chinese literature has defined common man opposite to the hero or the superhero. However, Eileen Chang completely altered this idea of the ordinary people in her literary works. From her point of view, the definition of “common man” was not based on the character’s social, political, or economic background as was prevalent in traditional Chinese literature. On the contrary, she believed that the best way to create the character of an ordinary man was by describing their personality, spiritual inclination, and lifestyle choices.1
Chang’s characters are not heroes. They are not extreme or have no tragedy. They are simply the common people living through mundane modern life. The absence of any tragic or comic focus ends the possibility of completion. Her characters are not tragic. They are desolate and it is in their desolation they gain a revelation. Her characters are “ordinary, weak people without the strength of heroes” and she believes it is these ordinary people who are better in “representing the totality of this era”.2 In her anthology of essays, Eileen Chang defines the term ordinary people as she has used it. These characters are not morally upright or faultless. On the contrary, they are wicked and weak, hideous, and meek. Thus, her characters are more real and human than her predecessors as she created people who bear the burden of the era instead of those who fight and do something great.
Chang’s idea of human existence in modern times also digresses from that of her predecessors. She believes that we live in a disorderly world. Even though her characters live in a historical era, their existence depends on the memories of the past that assist in identity creation.3 However, there arises a discord between the memory and the reality that creates the disharmony of modern life. Thus, her concentration, as opposed to her predecessors, is in the trivialities of life that presents no serious consequence to society but molds the way the common man lives.
Eileen Chang’s work is significant as she made the characters more realistic. The mingling of individual characteristics, with the dawn of modern life, and the rise of the necessity to exist rises above thematic representation of the text. She believes literary works with a specific and broad theme are less successful as literary works when compared to those with no significant theme but a strong story with human characters.4
Characteristics of Chang’s Works
Eileen Chang did not adhere to the conventional storytelling formula of setting a theme and developing characters and plots based on the theme. The question that now arises is what are the characteristics of her writing.
The three main characteristics of Chang’s fictional writings are a distinct feminist characteristic, the use of uneven contrast as a literary style, and aestheticism.
Distinct Feminist Characteristics
Eileen Chang’s literary writings differ from traditional Chinese literary works written mostly from a male perspective. Her early realization of the difference between the two genders instilled in her a desire to surpass her male counterparts in intellect.5 Chang’s writings introduce female voice and perspective, creating space for the subverted feminine voice in both Chinese society and literature.6 Though the distinctive feminist aspect is abundantly clear in her writing, Eileen Chang, unlike other feminist writers, does not conform to revolutionary feminism. She showed the pain of the upper-class and middle-class women who suffered loneliness and desired companionship.7 Her female characters are entrapped and depressed.8 Her high-modernist style is an outspoken criticism of the idealist social structure imposed on the citizens of new China in the 1930s and 1940s. In her work, she shows the damaging effect of Chinese modernity on the female body and psyche.9
Chang in her essay “My Writing” states, “I like writing that uses uneven contrasts because it is close to reality”.10 She claims that this style of writing is better than direct contrast as she felt modern life could not be replicated using the classic model of absolute opposites. It is believed that uneven contrast had been a predominant stylistic character of Chang writings. She, like most modern writers, is concerned not only about the fictional representation but also about representation itself. In this particular literary style, Chang brings forth the memories of the past in her writings. Her intention is to create a disruptive reality that interrupts the monologue of mundane, nondescript modern life. The deep-rooted influence of the historical, social, and political upheaval in China during the forties shaped her writing sensibilities that searched for the meaning of societal and cultural realities. Moreover, her cosmopolitan upbringing in Shanghai and a broken family left a deep sadness in her that subsequently affected her literary style. Her situation in life made her realize that life can never be a conglomeration of absolute emotions. She broke away from the traditional literary style to represent the modern Chinese experiences in her work.
Aestheticism / Romantic Style
Chang’s writings are usually romantic with a subtle presence of melodrama. However, the style can hardly be called romantic.11 Her fictions talk of love and romance between man and woman, and how their fate meets a “(non)romantic” end due to the socio-political affair of the country.12 In her literary works, Chang uses graceful words, unique metaphor, and meticulous psychological depiction and vivid description of the characters set in modern Chinese cities.13 She joins modern elements of a novel with that of the romance that is antithetical. Therefore, her novels are both realistic as well as romantic.14 In a way, they seem anachronistic as the characters are modern but their society and ideals are set in the past. The presence of romance in her writings antithetically stands out against the traditional romantic style. The elements of romanticism are intelligently utilized in her fiction to create a uniquely modern style.
Eileen Chang’s style presents a departure from the traditional Chinese literary tradition. Her writings presented a uniquely feminine perspective of the patriarchal Chinese society. Her fictions are both realistic as well as romantic and that is due to her use of uneven contrast and distinct literary aesthetics. These features make Chang’s work both distinct and irreplaceable.
Chang, Eileen. “My Writing.” Modern Chinese Literary Thought: Writings on Literature 1893-1945, edited by Kirk Denton, Stanford University Press, 2005, pp. 436-442.
Leng, Rachel. “Eileen Chang’s Feminine Chinese Modernity: Dysfunctional Marriages, Hysterical Women, and the Primordial Eugenic Threat.” Quarterly Journal of Chinese Studies, vol. 2, no. 3, 2014, pp. 13-34.
Liu, Joyce Chi-Hui. “Filmic Transposition of the Roses: Stanley Kwan’s Feminine Response to Eileen Chnag’e Women.” Feminism/Femininity in Chinese Literature, edited by Peng-hsiang Chen and Whitney Crothers Dilley, Rodopi, 2002, pp. 145-158.
Sang, Tze-lan. “Romancing Rhetoricity and History.” Eileen Chang: Romancing Languages, Cultures and Genres, edited by Kam Louie, Hong Kong University Press, 2012, pp. 193-214.
Wang, Xiaoping. “Eileen Chang’s Cross-Cultural Writing and Rewriting in Love in a Fallen City.” Comparative Literature Studies, vol. 49, no. 4, 2012, pp. 565-584.
Yang, Bin. “Under and Beyond the Pen of Eileen Chang: Shanghai, Nanyang, Huaqiao, and Greater China.” Frontiers of History in China, vol. 11, no. 3, 2016, pp. 458–484.
Zhang, Ailing. Written on Water. Columbia University Press, 2005.
Zoren, Zhou. “Women and Literature.” Modern Chinese Literary Thought: Writings on Literature, 1893-1945, edited by Kirk A Denton, Stanford University Press, 1996, pp. 228-232.
- See Yang, especially page 471 for a clear understanding of Eileen Chang’s literary style.
- See Chang, especially her ideas about writing and what she wanted to write about. The quotation is taken from page 438 of Chang’s essay “My Writing”.
- See Chang, page 438 for a detailed discussion of her worldview.
- See Chang, especially page 440 about her belief in literary writing.
- See Zang, especially page 150 to understand the feminist aspect of Eileen Chang’s works.
- See Zoren, especially pages 228 to 231 to get a clear view of the subversion of Chinese women and its reflection in Chinese literature.
- See Zang, page 165.
- See Liu, especially page 165 for a detailed discussion on Chang’s female characters.
- See Leng, especially page 32 to understand how social structure altered Chinese identity post 1930s.
- See Chang, page 437.
- See Wang, page 18 to 20 for a discussion on the romantic theme in Chang’s writings.
- See Wang, page 18.
- See Yang, page 474 for a brief understanding of how Chang’s characters opposed traditional romantic ideals.
- See Sang, page 192 for a clear understanding of how Chang’s writings were both realistic as well as romantic.
This research paper on Eileen Chang’s Literary Works and Their Influences was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
“The Scarlet Letter” and “The Young Goodman” by Hawthorne Compare and Contrast Essay
Updated: Jul 7th, 2020
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote two stories by the title, “The Scarlet Letter” and “Young Goodman” in which he displays his authorial voice by mirroring the societies from their dark ends as shown by the puritan cultures. In “The Scarter Letter,” Hawthorne employs psychological fiction to display the innate evilness of human beings (Johnson 75).
On the other hand, “The Young Goodman” is a story that revolves around wickedness that exists in the society and the role of characters in discovering these truths.
Although the two stories vary in setting, the author uses similar thematic representations in portraying his concerns about the nature of the society during this moment (Johnson 75). In this paper, my analysis seeks to explore the similarities and differences between the two stories. Further, the analysis shall exhibit how the author succeeds in asserting his themes.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” primarily consists of characteristic imagery, which tends to represent the underlying nature of the characters as well as events relevant to the thematic concerns of the text (Stubbs 1440). In this authorial piece, the concepts of light and darkness serve as a constant source that carries greater influences to the plot of the text in its entirety.
These literary devices employed by the author succeed in underpinning the general imperative of creating images and color inherent in the Scarlet letter (Johnson 75).
The idealistic choice of light in this piece of literature highlights the characteristic intentions and thought structure of the characters together with their intrinsic qualities as depicted by the author. The application of imagery and symbolism in this piece of work begins with symbolization of the Old general depicts the reawakening of the characters upon being motivated by the actions of the other person.
The narrator in the Custom House asserts through recall the significant image created in his mind by saying that those he worked with regarded him “in no other light” other than smart and sensible staff. On the other hand, darkness as a descriptive device qualifies in demonstrating the characters as evil (Stubbs 1440).
However, a change in the characteristic behavior of Hawthorne’s characters accompanies the change from darkness toward the light, which enhances the understanding of the nature and degree of transformation taking place from within the confines of the society. The red color as cited repeatedly in the text with its application in the letter depicts the society’s condemnation of the evilness of Hester (“The Scarlet Letter” 59).
In Goodman, the story takes us through a rather mysterious path full of wickedness in the puritanical society. In this story, the author clearly defines the thin line between goodness and evil, hence giving an impression of creativity (“Goodman” 36). In “The Scarter letter,” the author paints the presence of sin not in the literary forests, but rather in the symbolic image portrayed by Hester (Stubbs 1440).
The other similarity that embodies both stories lies in the plot setting where woods appear in both. It is through the journey within and through these woods that the value and behavior of the characters come to change. The innate isolation feature of the protagonists in both stories depicts the author’s ability to demonstrate how the two separate worlds discriminate its people by condemning them to the lasting pains (“The Scarlet Letter” 59).
Goodman spends his life secluded from the rest and similarly Hester carries a symbol for that represents her suffering and humiliation so proudly as though it was a medal. These ironical representations displayed by Hester in carrying herself around with the symbol as an act to demonstrate to the society clearly affords a vivid comparative analysis of various sides of the society such as evil and good.
In this analysis, the critical study indicates that although the two stories differ in numerous ways, they all work to demonstrate how both characters remain on an emotional trail toward discovering their identity in terms of strengths and weaknesses.
For instance, although Goodman finally discovered the inherent wickedness beholden by a man, he achieved in returning with him the knowledge and acceptance of the existence of sin (Stremberg 274). In all the works, the authors have managed to paint their characters in ways that portray their actions and the resultant effects that arise thereof.
Hawthorne’s depiction of women as the victims of masculinity in the society vividly gain evidence in the case of Hester as she swallows the charges for the sin she never committed. In leveraging the male characters from their real contribution of the evil in the society merits a connotation of darkness existing within the confines of the society at the expense of the less privileged in the society (Stremberg 274).
The author demolishes the worth of females in the heavily puritanical society through Hester as the female protagonists carrying the connotations of invaluable people with no place to occupy in the society.
Although the two pieces have followed completely different paths in their quest to achieve the authorial themes, they all compare well in terms of the ability of the authors to display the ultimate discovery of the nature and place of different people in the society, and their role in shaping the minds and perception.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: Penguin, 1986. Print. —.Young Goodman Brown and Other Short Stories. New York: Courier Dover Publications, 1992. Print.
Johnson, Claudia. (1995). Understanding the Scarlet letter: a student casebook to issues, sources, and historical documents. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1995. Print.
Stremberg, Maria. “Hawthorne’s Black Man: Image of Social Evil”. The Explicator 67.4 (2009): 274-275.
Stubbs, John C. “Hawthorne’s ‘The Scarlet Letter’: The Theory of the Romance and the Use of the New England Situation.” PMLA 83.5 (1968): 1439–1447.
This compare and contrast essay on “The Scarlet Letter” and “The Young Goodman” by Hawthorne was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
In Search for the True Meaning of This Land Is Your Land: What the Present-Day Americans Fail to Understand Essay
Updated: Aug 26th, 2019
As inspiring and honest as they were, the songs that Guthrie sang were a product of its era. This Land Is Your Land appealed to the American citizens that needed cooperation in order to stay calm and united in the heat of the fight.
Since modern U.S. citizens are unable to re-live the experience of the infamous Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, they cannot possibly embrace the ideas of loss and despair communicated in such lines as “A sign was painted said: Private Property/But on the back side it didn’t say nothing” (Guthrie para. 4).
When it comes to thinking what exactly modern American people fail to understand in Guthrie’s song, the weirdest thing is that Woody is much more famous now than he used to be in the era of the Great Depression, yet his present-day fans cannot quite put their finger on why exactly the song has gained such recognition and what makes it stand out of the range of songs concerning similar issues.
The fact that Woody was the first to write a song about the desperate state of the people trapped in the Great Depression does not seem to be the determinant in Guthrie’s case – a number of songs written to mark a particular historic event vanished without a trace, while their descendants appeared to be much more successful. Perhaps, there is more to the lyrics of the song than meets the eye.
One of the element that sets the song apart from not only the rest of Woody’s songs but also from the rest of the songs regarding the phenomenon of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, is its tendency to embrace the life of the entire United States; as if willing to take a family picture to cement the phenomenon of the Great Depression in people’s minds, Woody sang, “From California to the New York Island,/from the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters,/This land was made for you and me” (Guthrie para. 1).
The space that Woody embraces in his song gives a very tempting opportunity to read numerous innuendoes into the given excerpt, starting from the idea of togetherness, up to Woody’s concept of Communism as the principle of sharing at the time of nationwide trouble. In fact, a number of present-day critics interpret the given line as Guthrie’s call for people to join the ranks of Communists in order to fight the Great Depression.
The given interpretation is quite common for the present-day critics of Guthrie’s works; moreover, the discussion of the Socialist implications in the song often escalates to voicing the suspicions about Guthrie trying to spread Communist propaganda in the USA.
Considering This Land Is Your Land a tribute to the Communist ideas, however, would be quite a stretch. Instead, it would be more reasonable to view the song through the lens of a typical dweller of American South, who lost all possessions and was in desperate need for help. The people who were at the brink of going insane because of losing everything that they had did not need another blues song.
Instead, they wanted to hear about the Promised Land, where they could find a shelter from all their troubles – the place where the mere concept of property could be disregarded for the sake of feeling secure once again: “And on the sig it said ‘No Trespassing’,/But on the other side it didn’t say nothing” (Guthrie para. 5).
Therefore, the problem with understanding the meaning of Guthrie’s song is not that the people of the USA of the XXI century have no idea about the Great depression, but that people are trying to read into Guthrie’s song something that was never meant to be there.
“This land was made for you and me” is not a call for people accepting the Communist ideas readily – it is a reproach to the state authorities, which led the U.S. to the state of the Great Depression, throwing it into the Dust Bowl and leaving millions of people without anything to eat, anywhere to sleep and anyone to ask for help: “As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,/Is this land made for you and me?” (Guthrie para. 6).
The song is a call for freedom and happiness, which many people can relate to today, yet, weirdly enough, link to the Communist ideas.
Although the song might seem unnecessarily upbeat for the present-day American people to represent such a dark and morbid page in the history of the USAA as the great depression, one must admit that the merits of the song, as well as the elements of originality in it, clearly shine through. More to the point, the song serves as a reminder of the lessons learned in the course of the state history.
Unless people remember the lessons that history has taught them, they are doomed to repeating the same mistakes again and again, which means that modern U.S. citizens should, probably, look into Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land.
Guthrie, Woody (Singer and songwriter). This Land Is Your Land. 1940. Web.
This essay on In Search for the True Meaning of This Land Is Your Land: What the Present-Day Americans Fail to Understand was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” Essay
Updated: Jul 7th, 2020
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale is a main character. In the novel, Dimmesdale comes out as a hypocrite. He is depicted as a kind man, full of wisdom and eloquent speaker. He is a respected clergyman. But he is involved in sin of adultery and he keeps it a secret for seven years.
As a result guilt consumes him for seven years until he goes through a transformation. This paper explores the effects of hiding his sin and his transformation.
First effect is that, hiding his sin erodes his conscience. He is a preacher of the word of God and encourages the congregation to confess their sins openly. On the contrary, he chooses to conceal his sin which makes his conscience questionable. Keeping his sin a secret punishes him inwardly.
He knows the shame that he may face but he prefers to punish himself by remaining silent about his sin. He remains in a state of self condemnation hence eroding his conscience. Dimmesdale feels like a coward because he lacks the courage to admit his wrongs.
As a result he chooses to conceal his sin which exposes him to an inward pain. Concealing of his sin also costs him his soul’s peace; he remains disturbed for seven years.
Secondly, concealing of his sin affects his physical and mental well- being. He knows revelation of truth about him would make people in the town look down upon him. These thoughts torment him and as a result he goes through a period of depression. His concealed sin leaves him without peace.
The thought of shame that may befall him results to mental distress. The burden of his sin wears him out mentally and physically thus resulting to depleted health and which makes him so weak that he even thinks of his death.
Since the sin was committed Hester and Dimmesdale had no chance to be alone. At some point, the burden of fear of shame overpowered Dimmesdale “-how his dark complexion seemed to have grown duskier, and his figure more misshapen- since the days when she had familiarly known him” (102)
He decided to run away with Hester and their baby; Pearl. Unfortunately the ship was not leaving for the next four days. At some point Hester discloses to Dimmesdale that her husband knows the two sins that had been tormenting him. Hester and Dimmesdale talk and he seems to be happy and relaxed.
“Do I feel joy again?” Dimmesdale wonders at himself. “Me thought the germ of it was dead in me! -I seem to have flung myself- sick, sin stained and sorrow blackened- down upon these forest leaves, and to have risen up all made anew, and with new powers to glorify Him that hath been merciful! -This is already the better life! Why did we not find it sooner?”(198) Dimmesdale is delighted.
Dimmesdale decides to confess his sin to the rest of the congregation once they return from the forest. He wonders at himself. “That self was gone! Another man had returned out of the forest; a wiser one-” (200) Dimmesdale finds it wise and peaceful to confess his sin.
After giving his sermon, Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold and he tells the congregation of his sin. He also reveals the mark he bears at his breast. “He tells you, that, with all mysterious horror, it is but the shadow of what he bears on his own breast-. He tore away ministerial band before his chest.
It was revealed! -the gaze of horror stricken multitude was concentrated on the ghastly miracle; while the minister stood with a flush of triumph on his face, as one who, in the crisis of acutest pain, had won a victory.”(228) After the confession Dimmesdale was happy and died. “Farewell!” that final word came forth with the minister’s expiring breath.”(252) He finally set his soul free from the guilt of seven years.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel Inc, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The Scarlet Letter: 1850. New York: Informotions incorporated, 2001. Print.
This essay on Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald Essay
Updated: May 21st, 2021
Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel “The Great Gatsby” is a revelation of the negative impacts of a rapidly growing economy on the society. Specifically, it shows the negative impact of wealth on the lives of the main beneficiaries of the economic growth (Bruccoli 32). Fitzgerald attempts to show how a explosion of economic activities with enormous profits destroys the lives of the beneficiaries as they try to find their dream.
With a reflection of American’s search for an American dream with wealth and quality life, Fitzgerald portrays the corrupt society of the New York business elite as they experienced booming business in the early and mid 20th century (Bruccoli 61). In the novel, the fictional village of West Egg is perhaps one of the key items that symbolize the life of the new millionaires in the city.
In Fitzgerald’s storyline, the village of West Egg appears repeatedly in the novel and is the main scene of action. The village if first introduced to the reader when, in summer of 1922, Nick Carraway, the main character, arrives in New York from the Midwest. Carraway (Nick), a Young graduate of Yale and a veteran of the First World War, is probably in search of his American dream (Fitzgerald 12).
Apparently, the American dream is based on individualism and thirst for wealth and fame and is most likely to be realized in the city’s booming business. Therefore, he rents a small house in the village of West Egg, located on Long Island, from where he hopes to benefit from the city’s trade in bonds (Bruccoli 143).
Further Research When and Why Did Gatsby Change His Name? Which Excerpt from The Great Gatsby is the Best Example of Foreshadowing? What Does Gatsby Want from Daisy in Chapter 6? How Does Nick Describe Himself at the Beginning of The Great Gatsby? Who Attended Gatsby’s Funeral? Which excerpt from The Great Gatsby best indicates that Nick is not fully content with his life?
West Egg is the home of the city’s upcoming millionaires, with lavish homes. An example is the house owned by Jay Gatsby. Like Nick, Gatsby is also in search of his American dream. Unlike Nick, Gatsby is involved in illegal business (Fitzgerald 88).
It is evident that West Egg hosts all kinds of people, provided they have money to purchase or rent the luxurious houses. However, unlike the East Egg, the upcoming village is home to newcomers in the city’s business. Therefore, it attracts all kinds of people who are seeking to enjoy the lucrative business.
The Wes Egg also appears several times in the novel because it is a symbol of love and romance among the new millionaires in the city. It is evident that this community is composed of the person from different parts of the US and the world, who settles there as they seek their American dream.
For instance, Nick is from the Midwest, Jay Gatsby is from Dakota and Wolfshiem is a Jew (Fitzgerald 124). In fact, the story reveals that the majority of the people in the Long Island are immigrants from other regions. Apart from business, the residents are deeply engrossed in the search for love and romance. The actions of some male residents such as partying and driving luxury vehicles indicate their desire to attract beautiful women.
In addition, most of them are involved in more than one relationship. Fitzgerald attempts to use the city as a symbol of the decline of the American dream in the 1920s as residents involve themselves in illicit sexual relationships that even caused death as indicated in the death of Gatsby (Fitzgerald 172).
In the modern context, readers can visualize the village in relationship to the historical rise and decline of the American dream. Using the West Egg as a model, the reader can see the impacts of a sudden economic burst on the lives of the beneficiaries. For instance, excessive business opportunities, whether legal or illegal, are likely to demoralize young people, especially due to drugs and illicit sex.
Bruccoli, Matthew. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: A Literary Reference. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2000. Print.
Fitzgerald, Scott F. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner’s sons, 1925. Print.
This essay on The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Samuel Beckett, Endgame Essay
Updated: Jul 5th, 2019
Samuel Beckett wrote the play by the name Endgame in the year 1958. The play centers on the effects of apocalyptic disaster on Hamm’s family (Beckett 713). In the play, Hamm, Clov, Nagg, and Nell are trapped in single room. Having been trapped, the four characters are forced to carry on with their everyday chores. Notably, the survival of the four individuals depends on their ability to work together.
Based on the events that unfold in the play, Endgame can be interpreted pessimistically and optimistically. In this regard, this article seeks to analyze the probable reasons for such opposing reactions. The play begins with a pessimistic tone (Beckett 713). Despite being daytime, the room is lit with minimal light. The windows are depicted as being small and elevated.
Equally, the picture hanged on the wall is not visible. The author points out that the sheets covering the ashbins are old. The phrase emphasizing on the age of the sheets is repeated to reinforce a negative attitude about the room. In general, the pictures depicted on the first scene make the play pessimistic.
Equally, the sense of pessimistic future is depicted through the author’s use of clocks. The author uses sunset as a natural clock. Sunset indicates the end of 12-hour period. In the play, the sun does not fall and emits gray radiations. Usually, the rising and falling of the sun indicates hope and renewal of continuous cycle. However, in the play the sun does not fall representing the destruction of hope in the future.
As the play progresses, the author enhances the play’s pessimistic tone when Hamm asks Clov to terminate his life to end his sufferings (Beckett 720). Hamm considers himself useless because of his state and does not see any reason for him being alive. He relates how he has been poor in the past to the extent that he walked barefoot. As Clov is about to leave for the Kitchen, Hamm expresses his disappointment with Clov for leaving him.
He warns Clov that if she leaves him, she would not manage to survive on her own. As illustrated above, the play can be interpreted as pessimistic but a closer examination of the play reveals that it is optimistic. Throughout the play, no one is satisfied about his or her situation. Nell and Nagg regard their precedent time as happy lives, while Hamm longs for the day he will be able to see again.
Clov is optimistic that one day he will begin a new life in a place far away from Hamm’s home. This illustrates that even though the characters are suffering, there are optimistic about their future. Similarly, the author expresses optimism when Hamm asks Clov to forgive him for subjecting him to torture. At this moment, Beckett illustrates a relieved Hamm who had earlier been harsh to Clov.
When Hamm sees movement in Clov’s legs, he becomes optimistic that Clov will one day be able to move despite their miserable conditions. In the same scene, Hamm requests for his painkillers twice with hope that the drugs would reduce his pains. The story of the tailor narrated by Nagg depicted the Englishman as optimistic. The tailor made a promise to his customer that he would make him a pair of trousers in four days’ time.
After the four days elapsed, the customer came for the pair of trousers as prompted earlier. On his arrival, he was disappointed because the tailor had not fulfilled his promise. The tailor apologized for the inconveniences and promised that he would be through with the task in the next few days. This went on for three months as the man kept showing up regularly.
Although, the Englishman was disappointed with the tailor, he was optimistic each time he went to confirm on the completion of his pair of trousers. Nagg tells Nell the story to keep her optimistic that one day, just like the Englishman, their suffering would end. Finally, the author enhances the theme of optimism in the final scene when Clov looks outside through the telescope and realizes that the situation was getting better (Beckett 732).
He explains his vision as having seen many people moving and expresses certainty that these were happy. In this scene, hope is enhanced among the characters signifying that their tribulations were ending. In conclusion, it is apparent that Beckett portrays both optimism and pessimism themes in the play. Both themes have been enhanced by the characters’ acts.
For instance, in some scenes the characters are optimistic that their lives would improve for the better. In the contrary, some scenes portray the characters as pessimistic about their future lives. In these scenes, the same characters express their unlucky situations by seeing a bleak future and unchanging conditions. Through this twist of events, the author manages to make the play fascinating and humorous. Endgame might appear to be pessimistic play, but with scrutiny, a reader will discover the opposite.
Beckett, Samuel. Endgame. London: Faber and Faber, 2009. Print.
This essay on Samuel Beckett, Endgame was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Critical Book Review: “Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection” by Pamela Collins and Ryan Baggett Essay
Updated: Dec 28th, 2019
Authored by Pamela Collins and Ryan Baggett, the book Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection investigates the existing gaps in security systems, the various protection plans, and the projected viable options of ensuring that critical infrastructure of the US is safe and free from any hazard.
In the introductory chapters, precise arguments are made on the background of the US’ department of homeland security with an in-depth analysis of the process of evolution of the US’ security infrastructure.
This goal is accomplished through reviewing primary presidential directions in the effort to enhance security and/or maintain intelligence of the security apparatus, legislation, and methodologies of the safety of infrastructural assessment.
The second batch of chapters investigates social infrastructural sectors that have been identified as central to the enhancement of security of the United States. These sectors comprise the critical and essential infrastructure for driving economic and political prosperity of the United States.
Some of the discussed infrastructural elements include “banking, agriculture, telecommunication, finance, food, and even transportation” (Collins & Baggett, 2009). With a particular focus on the department of homeland security, the authors argue that the main objective or the noble mandate of homeland security is to ensure that infrastructure is free from any act of terrorism.
In this second batch of chapters, the authors also discuss the various methodologies of protection of the cited essential infrastructure.
Some of these methods include deployment of standard systems for enhancing security, maintenance of buffer zones, enhancing of intelligence, fostering information-sharing, partnership between public and the private sector, and putting of mechanisms of continued planning (Collins & Baggett, 2009).
Additionally, in this section of the book, the authors dwell and/or dig deep into the most dangerous and serious security problems that face particular infrastructural components. They also conduct an in-depth analysis of the current procedures of protecting such infrastructural elements. Finally, they offer their recommendation on the ways through which the infrastructure can be protected to guarantee the future security.
In the third section, the authors discuss the principal pillars that make the homeland security. These are recovery, prevention, preparedness, and response. This discussion is made even more relevant upon the discussion of the concepts of hazards and the mechanism of hazard prevention.
According to the authors, security hazards involve all situations or conditions that may put the security of citizens of the United States at risk (Collins & Baggett, 2009).
Thus, prevention measures constitute all activities that are deployed to ensure that the risk of attack does not occur. However, in the event of the occurrence, an appropriate response mechanism is required to restore normalcy in the shortest time possible. Another essential pillar discussed by the authors in details is hazard preparedness.
According to the authors, an effective disaster preparedness program needs to have cyclic ways of planning, organizing, equipping, evaluation training, and testing of disaster preparedness apparatus of the state (Collins & Baggett, 2009). The recovery pillar is based on the need to make decisions for the provision of immediate and urgent help to the affected persons and infrastructure in the event of occurrence of a security hazard.
The effort ensures that all the destroyed infrastructural elements are brought back to normal operation in the event of occurrence of an attack that seeps through the security agents and security intelligence systems. The book then sums up by providing a list of acronyms.
Strength and Weaknesses of the Book
Every scholarly work has its strength and weaknesses. In the realm of the strength of the book, Collins and Baggett provide incredible explanation of the background and historical roots of critical security infrastructure that requires protection together with the designated areas, which may be termed as the essential infrastructure that requires constant surveillance to keep the economy of the United States from being heralded by terrorists.
The book has a significant strength since it provides a comprehensive package for the military and other security agents of the US to develop an adequate understanding and assessment of the various threats that may face critical infrastructure, thus driving the financial, social, and political institutions of the US.
The book brings into details the infrastructure that may be viewed by people as secure and immune to terrorist attacks. This description helps to provide a thorough understanding of the capabilities of terrorists to make life impossible for the Americans.
For instance, the authors argue that water systems, electrical systems, and other installations, which support everyday life of the American citizens are some the most fragile infrastructural elements, which terrorists can capitalize on destroying to create suffering among the US citizens.
Unfortunately, people would only consider security threat an act that only comprises attacks such as the September 11 attacks. In this regard, the book offers an expanded view of critical infrastructure that requires protection.
Collins and Baggett define critical infrastructure as “systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets will have a debilitating impact on the security, national economic security, national health or safety, or any combination of those matters” (Collins & Baggett, 2009, p.65).
Borrowing from this definition, the authors are able to classify security threats into several categories. These categories can briefly be grouped into three main classes: physical, human, and cyber risks.
Conclusively, the book provides an in-depth analysis of all security threats that lie within the first two categories together with how the US department of homeland security has been responding to them. In case of the group of infrastructure that may be considered physical, the authors provide a comprehensive coverage of the various security issues and challenges affecting the efforts to ensure that such infrastructural elements are secure.
Physical infrastructure here refers to both tangible (products, components, animals, real estates, and facilities) and interminable properties. Through this discussion, a significant weakness of the book emerges since the authors do not give substantial evidence based on the ways of protecting the physical infrastructure considering that more than 85 percent of physical infrastructure is not owned by federal states.
Although the authors point out that protection of physical infrastructure may be enhanced by cooperation between the private sector and the government through the department of homeland security, the roles that the owners of the larger portion of physical infrastructure should play to enhance their security is not given magnificent attention.
Discussion of the roles of technology in enhancing security surveillance is a significant strength of the book.
While the authors explore valid ways in which technology through IT is deployed to increase security intelligence and information sharing within the department of homeland security is crucial, a weakness is introduced since there is no comprehensive discussion of the knowledge bases of the terrorists on the usage of information technology to enhance their terrorist activities.
The world is operating in an environment that is dominated by immense challenges of cyber threats. War against nations is shifting from being conducted on physical battlefields to the global network protocols through acts of cybercrimes such as offensive hacking.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Pamela Collins and Ryan Baggett’s book Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection offers important explanations of the efforts and achievements of the US department of homeland security in ensuring that all US citizens remain free from acts of terrorist attacks. They offer a discussion of various infrastructural components that are considered critical and hence requiring adequate protection.
Amid this discussion, some weaknesses of the book have been identified in the paper. It is recommended that the authors consider integrating a detailed analysis of cybercrimes, their impacts on the security and infrastructural systems of the US, and/or how such crimes can be positively identified and/or responded before attacks are successfully implemented.
This recommendation is made in recognition of the fact that, amid technological developments of the United States, enemies are also well educated and constantly looking for loopholes for attacking the US information systems to destruct the capacity of the department of the homeland security to prevent, develop preparedness, and respond to emergency including terrorist attacks.
The security of a nation is one of the most important functions of a government. For people who wish to know and gain insights into how national infrastructure can be protected cannot run away from reading Pamela Collins and Ryan Baggett’s text Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection.
The book is also valuable to the department of homeland security. It identifies possible areas for improvement to enhance protection of critical infrastructural installations in the US as a primary mandate of the department of the US homeland security.
Collins, P., & Baggett, R. (2009). Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection. Westport: Praeger Security International.
This essay on Critical Book Review: “Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection” by Pamela Collins and Ryan Baggett was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
“The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros Synthesis Essay
Updated: Jul 8th, 2020
The interconnection between individuals, society and local communities is a network that defines life and choices people make.
Every situation is individual and people and their actions are framed by the conditions and circumstances of their personal lives, as well as those of people in the close circle.
“The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros describes the life of a child who goes through hardships of being poor, having personal dilemmas and understanding the surrounding world. It focuses on the great influence of community on an individual and vice verse.
From the very beginning, the reader is familiarized with the previous life and hardships of a character whose name is Esperanza. At twelve year old, girl talks about the constant moving that goes back far in the past, so that she does not even remember all the places of residence.
The start familiarizes the audience that both family and the little girl have grave financial problems, as well as problems with the community they reside in (Cisneros 4).
The close relationship between individual people and families is established within the community and it becomes one of the reasons people feel unable to continue living in the area.
In case of the family Esperanza describes, the financial resources do not allow them to move into a nice neighborhood or a house and thus, they are forced to find living quarters in communities that have detrimental life conditions and people are not very kind to each other.
As parents want best for their children, the reason for Esperanza’s family to move out in a search of a better place becomes obvious.
Another theme mentioned in the book is the relationship between people’s background, race and how the outside majority community views others. Hispanic population has often felt pressure and unequal treatment form the American population.
The United States communities felt that people with Hispanic background influenced the economy and the state of affairs of workforce and general market demands.
Esperanza describes whole communities of people that affect the way minorities feel about themselves and such conditions have a negative result on individual securities and happiness of people.
It is especially noticeable, having in mind the insecurities that a little girl already has because of her family’s financial condition. Racial alienation and segregation from the rest of community has a lot of pressure on Esperanza.
While grouping up, a young mind is very sensitive when the whole nation of people presses on the psyche of minorities and makes individuals feel unwanted.
An interesting connection takes place between the way Esperanza feels about herself and the surrounding women. She observes how women are treated and experiences the community by herself. She starts noticing boys and begins to feel a want to have their attention.
Esperanza is surrounded by girls who have had relations and this becomes a whole new world for her. This is the time when she looks deep inside herself to find out that she has matured.
It has been known that girls become developed earlier than boy and this is another issue that Esperanza has to understand and deal with.
Everything changes when she gets abused and she learns that reality can be extremely harsh sometimes. This has a direct connection to the way women are treated in her community.
One of the biggest examples is Rafaela and the way she gets treated by her husband. As she is not allowed to go out because she is beautiful, she is forced to be confined in her house (Cisneros 82).
This is representative of the society and how men have been dominating women for such a long time.
Esperanza understands her pain, just as other women’s. When she talks about Mamacita and her want to go back home, it is heartbreaking to the reader that she was unable to adapt to new conditions.
She becomes homesick and despises the new world and the English language. The fact that her child learns to speak American has a great effect on her self esteem and she becomes even more saddened (Cisneros 78).
Esperanza can feel the pain of all women in her community and she learns a lot by observing the social make-up and how women are treated.
The author draws a unique line between individuality, community and person’s independence. One of the signs is the way Esperanza talks about trees on Mango Street and how she admires them. This points to a theme of people feeling trapped and lonely, so far as to identify with trees.
The community that surrounds individuals becomes a heavy burden and a vicious cycle that does not allow anyone to escape. When Esperanza’s family moves to a house, she is still very much unpleased with the ways things are turning out.
Her dreams were filled with a beautiful house that has a garden, green grass and all the pretty images form themselves into the only goal Esperanza can think off. Her focus is to escape the life of poverty and buy the house of her dreams.
The home that the girl sees in her mind is an escape from the harsh reality of the world she lives in. It is representative of a sense of belonging and a corner where she can escape to.
All the major themes of the book unite into one that describes the external pressures on a young mind. Esperanza is an example of a person who notices everything around her but is unable to change things.
She becomes trapped by the community, the views of the society and personal understanding. As she spent her whole young life in moving and searching for a better place to live, she cannot compare any other way of life to her own.
All she has left is to imagine a beautiful house that is her only path out of the world she does not want to be a part of. Racial separation, poverty, social role of women and her personal determination to change the circumstances become a force that keeps reminding of itself.
Esperanza is unable to get used to such cruelties that people suscept each other to and she wants to get far away.
The book very precisely illustrates the lives of people who suffer all around. The majority of the population does not notice that a lot of families have to struggle to make ends meet and feed their children.
The governments are mostly helpless in changing the social order that has been established for a long time. In the modern world, conditions have become better for those less fortunate but nonetheless, it is far from perfect, so books like this are very valuable and needed.
Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. London, Great Britain: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004. Print.
This synthesis essay on “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
“Breath, Eyes, Memory” by Edwidge Danticat Essay
Updated: Dec 27th, 2019
The novel breath, eyes, memory is a true manifestation of the medieval and present human society. In simpler terms, it reflects the basic elements that spun our existence. These elements are explained from the main themes of the novel. These themes form the framework of this paper because immigration, love and parenting are discussed as the main themes in the novel.
Immigration is a major theme in the novel breath, eyes, memory because it describes the foundation of the novel’s plot. Moreover, the theme of immigration is almost representative of the current and past American immigration trends. From the novel, a reader is able to see the difference in culture between Sophie and her mother. Sophie was raised in Haiti but her mother lived in New York (Danticat 3).
As the novel progresses, we can see that Martine (Sophie’s mother) invites her daughter to the US to stay with her. From this understanding, the theme of immigration is profound. After shifting her residence from Haiti to New York, Sophie discovers missing pieces of her past. In addition, she is able to adjust to the new American lifestyle.
Later in the narration, Sophie returns to Haiti to see her grandmother after she develops some resentment towards her mother. Her trip back to Haiti is also another manifestation of the theme of immigration, where she goes back to her native homeland to live with her grandmother and aunts.
However, throughout the novel, the differences in culture (between native Haitians and Americans) are exposed, and the concept of assimilation is emphasized to synchronize the two cultures (Danticat 15).
The theme of love is profound in the novel breath, eyes, memory. Love manifests in the Haitian ritual to check female virginity, where mothers test their daughters to ensure they are still pure. This is an act of love, which manifests in protection. Testing is therefore done to ensure mothers protect their daughters from the social evils of the world.
Briefly, this ritual acts as a deterrent for young women to engage in runaway sexual adventures, which may expose them to harm (Danticat 23). Therefore, due to the practice of the ritual, young women observe chastity because they would not want to be condemned if they failed the test. Though the entire experience is traumatizing for Sophie, clearly, the procedure is done out of love.
When Sophie moves to America, she finds love with her husband. This episode in the novel’s plot is a fast forward to Sophie’s life after high school (Danticat 31). Sophie becomes obsessed with the man next door and through love; they are able to court and live together. From this love, they bore a daughter.
The analysis of love within the above framework can be understood in the context of family love because Sophie and her husband lived together, bound by love. By extension, the theme of love also manifests in the bond that existed among the Caco women. Coupled by a deep sense of history, the theme of love binds the practices, beliefs and values shared by the Caco women (Danticat 31).
When Sophie moves back to Haiti, she seeks counsel from these women and consequently, their advice shape her ideals as a woman. The bravery and struggles of the Haitian women are passed down to Sophie through the love they have for her. They also treat her as one of their own because of the love they all share.
A major part of the novel breath, eyes, memory highlights the theme of parenting. In fact, Sophie’s entire experience is understood within the framework of parenthood (Danticat 40). Her trip from Haiti to New York, her experiences as a mother, and her trip back to Haiti highlight her quest and experiences in understanding parenthood.
Raised without a mother, the theme of parenting manifests in Sophie’s life during the earlier chapters of the novel when Martine (a childless mother) invites Sophie (a motherless child) to live with her in the US. Parenthood is at the center of this invitation because Sophie is curious to learn the history and life of a mother that she never knew.
Similarly, Martine is desperate to unite with her daughter. All along, Sophie’s grandmother raised her until she was 12. Everything that she knew before she joined her mother was because of the parental care she received from her grandmother in Haiti.
Later sections of the novel revolve around Martine’s parenting skills, which eventually form a rift with her daughter. For instance, the virginity test is a form of parental skill Martine inherited from her past as a Haitian girl. She passes this practice down to her daughter but Sophie is not receptive to it.
It is from this understanding that a rift is created between Sophie and her mother. This sentiment prompts her trip back to Haiti where she goes to seek her grandmother’s counsel. The entire narration manifests the need for good parenting.
The themes of immigration, parenting and love feature prominently in breath, eyes, memory because they are used to explain the lives of the main characters. These themes represent real-life situations affecting people in the society, and almost concisely, they summarize the fabric of our social relationships.
For instance, love and parenting are core foundations of family life, while family life is the core of the society. Based on this understanding, the themes discussed above are core to the understanding of the novel breath, eyes, memory and a mirror of the society.
Danticat, Edwidge. Breath, Eyes, Memory. New York: Vintage Books, 1998. Print.
This essay on “Breath, Eyes, Memory” by Edwidge Danticat was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
The Representation of Masculinity in “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin Essay
Updated: Jul 7th, 2020
The author of this novel, Kate Chopin, was brought up in an intellectual environment and was aware of the marital problems that were experienced during the Victorian period. ‘The Awakening’ is a novel that is written in the Victorian society which is patriarchal.
This is a very strict society that has prejudiced conventions that women are supposed to adhere to. The Victorian society puts great emphasis on a rigid set of requirements that women should hold on to unlike their male counterparts who do not have much to do. Women are expected to be ideal wives, devoted mothers, and competent performers in anything.
The story talks about the expedition of Edna Pontellier who is both a mother and a wife. The novel begins when Edna, is on vacation together with her family on Grand Isle. It is here that Edna begins to be reawakened. She meets a man Robert Lebrun, who reignites her sexual desire, becomes a good swimmer, and revives her love for painting. She also gets some female friends who also influence her awakening.
These women include Mademoiselle Reisz and Madame Ratignolle (Chopin 841). After going back home, she starts ignoring most of the conventions within her society and carries on with painting, from where she gets her income which contributes to her financial independence. Consequently, she buys a house and runs away from her husband,
Involves herself in another affair, and gets back with Lebrun who eventually departs her. This leads to her ultimate death in Grand Isle where she drowns herself.
In general, ‘The Awakening’ points at the societal patriarchal stereotypes that call for women to surrender themselves to their husbands and depend upon their financial support while being truthful to them. These conventions also demand that women should put their kids’ interests above their own.
To start with, Edna finds herself caught up between her strong desire to be free and the preconceived patriarchal ideologies within her society. She seems to admire her friend Madame Ratignolle’s conformity to the societal ideologies, but chooses not to adhere to them. Women are portrayed to be blinded by the limitations of their gender identities.
The novel uses a lot of symbolism in order to bring out the issue of gender in the society. For instance, the title of Chopin’s novel ‘The Awakening’ is highly symbolic. It connotes the many ways in which Edna who is the main female protagonist attempts to stir up her environment.
She is seen to revive her self-awareness as a woman and as an individual. She also starts to appreciate herself as a woman, as an artist and begins to get pleasure from listening to music.
On the other hand, cigars have been mentioned in several instances, a symbol of masculinity. Ideally, women in this society are not supposed to smoke. This notwithstanding, Edna challenges this convention by constantly and publicly smoking cigars. Birds have also been used symbolically in this novel. They symbolize the capability to soar into the sky, bringing out the issue of freedom.
In this novel women are seeking freedom in this male-dominated society. This issue is clearly brought out by Edna. Houses are also used symbolically. Edna is seen to be having several homes which negatively connotes the constant shifting of the female mindset. Use of the ocean is also prominent in Chopin’s novel.
The ocean is usually a large water mass which can be used to represent something that is not easy to comprehend. On several occasions, Edna turns to the ocean for emotional consolation. The ocean is used by the author to represent the patriarchal misconceptions within the general society that are so wide and prominent to be done away with.
At one point in the novel, Edna is seen to watch Madame Ratignolle with the use of masculine eyes. She describes her as walking graciously while her little children ran towards her (Chopin 837). Apparently, this image establishes the masculine ideals within this society.
The representation describes how the men expect their wives to behave. Actually, Madame Ratignolle conforms to both the family and spiritual ideals in this society, and has been used to depict a perfect woman. As a matter of fact, she would be ready to lay her life for her children and is thus a representation of holiness.
In this novel, the author brings about the behavior of the revolutionized woman (Edna) to signify the limitations posed by the continuous conditioning of women which makes them prisoners of their roles. In the novel the author is seen to be questioning the identity of women as well as their roles.
Edna chooses independence over conforming to the societal expectations with regards to her duties to her husband and her family. She also chooses to appreciate her sexuality over being subdued by the masculine gender, and prefers to appreciate art and music over being entertained by others.
In this society, the masculine gender is seen to constantly disapprove women who wander away from their marital expectations. The men feel that they should intervene in the women’s decisions and help them in making judgments, both in their careers and their social life. In addition, when it comes to financial issues, men are not satisfied in their wives inputs.
For instance, at one point, Edna’s husband reprimanded her for allegedly forgetting to take care of her children, citing that, it is a mother’s responsibility to bring up children. He defended himself with the argument that he had very many other responsibilities.
Unquestionably, division of work along gender lines was a custom of the Victorian society. As a matter of fact, a woman is expected to support her home and kids single handedly. As evidenced in the case of Edna and her husband, when a woman went below the requirements of her job, she would be thoroughly scolded by her husband who was her boss.
Undeniably, Edna’s father who was a Colonel strengthens this masculine obligation in Edna’s husband when he persuaded him to involve practical business expertise into family conflicts.
This is evident when he says; “You are too lenient, too lenient by far, Leonce,” “Authority and coercion are what is needed. Put your foot down good and hard; the only way to manage a wife. Take my word for it (Chopin 901).” According to this society, a wife should be handled as a worker.
Moreover, in this novel, most dialogues by women are generally centered on family matters, while men’s dialogues are mainly focused on business issues. For this reason, marriage in this society is not highly regarded by the men. They seem to be having more important matters to discuss other than family issues.
In several instances in the novel, masculinity is associated with hard work, determination and conquest over life’s struggles. According to this novel, women who attempt to change such stereotypes have to break very strong traditional ties and the attempt is likely to be futile.
In conclusion, ‘The Awakening’ is a novel that is set within a patriarchal society. This society has stereotypical ideologies that suppress women. Edna refuses to accept the society’s dominant patriarchal ideologies and thus attempts to achieve gender equality and freedom from the patriarchal structures within her society which leads to her death. Edna believes that taking away her life is the only way she can achieve her freedom.
This can be an indication of the futility that is associated with any attempt by women to change the patriarchal structures within the society. The act of committing suicide can also signify feminine revolution.
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. New York, NY: Bantam Classic, 1981. Print.
This essay on The Representation of Masculinity in “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.