Literary Terms


In Cold Blood: A Thin Line Between Journalism and Fictional Narration

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

The story of a family of four living the American dream only to be killed seemingly without motive is a tale that explores crime and its possibilities. In Cold Blood, published as a four-part serial in The New Yorker, is a nonfiction novel written by Truman Capote. Published in January of 1966 with 343 pages, In Cold Blood has been recognized as a classic and been given the Edgar Award for best fact crime. The book follows the real-life story of the Clutter family murders and its consequences. It’s about striving for recognition, social order, and the achievement of dreams no matter the societal position.

The story opens up with the Clutter family, Herbert, Bonnie, and their teenage children Nancy and Kenyon. They lead a prominent and prosperous life on their farm in Holcomb Kansas. The narrative follows the Clutter family through to November 14th, 1959 ominously referred to as their “last.” In another part of Kansas, the story follows two men, Dick Hitchcock, and Perry Smith who are forming plans to make it big. They head towards Garden City and proceed to the Clutter farm. The morning after the fateful event, friends arrive at the Clutter house and find all four family member brutally murdered. The scene troubles the residents as well as the police officers who find little to no evidence. The investigation is launched and the story continues to follow Smith and Hitchcock as details of the murder are slowly revealed. We learn more about the murderers past, hopes, and dreams. The investigation picks up after a former employee of Herb Clutter and former cellmate of Hitchcock’s reveals information on the two. The police trace, capture the murderers, interrogate them, and they are put on trial. The prisoners’ experience psychiatric evaluations and are found to be guilty. They spend five years on death row with other high-profile murderers. Eventually, the two are hanged on April 14, 1965. The last scene shows the lead investigator visiting the cemetery where the Clutters are buried. He takes a moment to wonder at life’s persistence even in the face of tragedy.

Throughout the book, the author’s style and tone are used to further engage the reader and tell the story. Capote’s language is used for the in-depth development of characters as the events and facts of the story are already known. More freedom is given in what he can write about the characters and uses that allowance fully. The detail given offers different perspectives, for example, Perry who is known as a murderer and to be monstrous is given a poetic voice with a soft heart of dreams. These details are used to convince the reader to believe the story and Capote does brilliantly. In the original publication of the story, there is an editor’s note at the top of the first installment which reads, “All quotations in this article are taken either from official records or from conversations, transcribed verbatim, between the author and the principals.” Capote claimed all the facts to be true, therefore he had to create a realistic style to make it feel as real as possible. Capote’s tone is found to be both fatalistic and empathetic and can be found even in the beginnings of the book when the narrator describes Nancy Clutter setting out her dress for church, then mentions that those are the clothes she will be buried in. This approach is detached and supports the grim outlook that people have no power over what happens to them. Facts are stated without emotion, just as cold hard facts. “You live till you die, and it doesn’t matter how you go; dead’s dead.”(3.146)

Multiple themes can be identified in this book, such as family, Christianity, and plans and dreams. Each of these are found throughout and tie in closely with the characters. The idea of family in this book is seen as something that protects you. Family ties are the explanation as to why Smith is seen as a misfit and why the Clutters are the seemingly picture-perfect family. Both Hitchcock and the high-profile murders are examples that you’re family doesn’t entirely influence you. Capote shows a balance between growing up changing the characters and their DNA not being entirely representative. The idea of religion, Christianity in particular, is seen throughout this book. Particularly the idea of redemption and salvation. The Clutters are seen as extremely religious whereas Smith developed an aversion to it due to abusive nuns. Smith’s recurring childhood vision of a golden parrot that descends upon him in times of need is believed by him to be a sort of avenging angel. The concept of good and evil also plays a role in turning Hitchcock and Perry’s lives to crime, the death penalty, and their plans and dreams. The idea that the American dream is necessary is why characters struggle to achieve their dreams and scrutinize those who don’t

Capote’s bias in this book can be found in terms of characters and their continuity. One way he shows bias is in his clear favoring of Smith over Hitchcock. He sympathizes with Smith and portrays him in a far more positive manner compared to Hitchcock. The tones Capote uses between the two influence the readers to see Smith in a more positive light. For example, an empathetic tone is used when speaking of Smith’s childhood while the description of Hitchcock’s makes him seem sociopathic. Especially when Hitchcock’s pedophilic tendencies are revealed along with Smith’s disproval of them. Details are placed throughout the book to make readers question the motives of the criminals and their compassion for those they murdered. Such as the placement of pillows under the victims head as a final act of compassion. Artistic flourishes are also found. Capote doesn’t know everything about the story and definitely doesn’t know what Mr. Clutter was thinking while strolling on his farm. Or what Perry’s motive for the murder really was. These ideas aren’t verifiable, but they are necessary in order to follow a narrative. They can be accurate in the general sense and in terms of themes even if they’re slightly inconsistent in detail. Capote’s bias as a whole has some effect on the reader, but nothing drastic. Perhaps the readers were swayed one way or another, maybe he compromised the integrity of the characters, but it’s needed if one is going to mix fact and fiction with the desire for artistic prose.

As a piece of journalism, Capote’s book was one of the first to start the literary movement of new journalism. This type of writing pushed the limits of traditional journalism and non-fiction writing. It combined journalistic research with techniques used in fiction writing to create stories about real-life events like the Clutter murders. Capote submersed himself into the story and collected six years of research and interviews. All of which were transcribed by memory without use of tape recorders or notes. His novel is full of details that wouldn’t be found in a newspaper story. Capote got so into the story that he felt torn apart by the conflict and expressed how haunted he was by the whole ordeal. He wanted to create this book as a literary experiment and felt he was one of the rare creative people who took journalism seriously. In my opinion, In Cold Blood is a great piece of journalism. It varies from the norm and offers a whole new perspective on the story. By taking a risk Capote’s work paid off and brought new ideas to the table. He says,” the most underestimated, the least explored of literary mediums is journalism, and that in the right hands journalism, reportage, could be forced to yield a serious new art form.”

In Cold Blood a true account of multiple murders and its consequences, a true story of lost hopes, dreams, and the continuation of life after tragedy. This book has a lot to offer as a narrative as well as a piece of journalism. It provides information while simultaneously giving the reader a colorful look into the past. It’s an enjoyable read that dives into the meaning behind the facts and puts the reader into a visual whirlwind that engages them with the story. Capote created a valuable resource, one that will be here for the ages. This book is recommended for anyone who loves a grounded story with a sense of realism. “Imagination, of course, can open any door – turn the key and let terror walk right in.”


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Lord of the Flies: Character Archetypes of Protagonists

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

Think of the biggest crises on earth, when civilization was falling. For example, when the stock market crashed, everyone was thrown into chaos and fear. However, within these times of chaos and fear, people often find their true nature. In the book Lord of the Flies, Roger and Piggy change through chaos and fear when trapped on an island with several dozens of other boys after a devastating plane crash. Without rules or someone to take charge, they transform from their civilized ways into uncivilized chaos. Soon, rival groups – or “tribes” – formed, and a war began between Jack’s tribe, which included Roger, and Ralph’s tribe, which included Piggy. It wasn’t until a British naval officer finds them at the island that the boys stop the war and go back to a form of civilized life because order was finally found again. Within this story, readers may see through the book how Roger and Piggy have changed. In the novel, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Roger best fits the character archetype shapeshifter, and Piggy, as the mentor, shows that, when people are outside of civilization, their true nature and new roles as people come out.

Roger best represents the character archetype Shapeshifter; a shapeshifter is someone who changes from the beginning of a book to the end of a book. In the beginning of Lord of the Flies, Roger was timid, often keeping things to himself without acting in a way that would suggest an ability to cause any harm. For example, when walking through the woods one day, he started throwing rocks toward another boy but made sure that the rocks missed the boy. Specifically, “Roger stooped, picked up a stone, aimed, and threw it at Henry-threw it to miss” (62). Roger fits the shapeshifter archetype so well because you can see it through this timid action and playful mischief. Roger sometimes led others to believe that he presented little trouble to them.

However, Roger’s personality changed as the book continued. For instance, later when Roger was standing on a mountain watching Ralph and Piggy talk to Jack, Roger felt a sense of power within him and pushed a boulder down the mountain straight at Piggy, “Some source of power began to pulse in Roger’s body” (175). Through this type of change, Roger fits the shapeshifter archetype because he goes from a feeling of no power, with a quiet, reserved way about him, to a feeling of power, not afraid to state his opinion and take action against others. The power that he felt led to this, “High overhead, Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever. Ralph heard the great rock before he saw it” (180). In this, Roger let the boulder fly, heading towards Piggy, “The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee” (181). Roger’s shapeshifter role is also depicted by the way that Roger shifted from working for Ralph early in the book to later supporting Jack’s tribe. Starting with the killing of Piggy, Roger played a big role in creating a war between the two tribes. He went from a person who kept to himself without trying to cause harm to acting with a sense of power as he took action that he knew would lead to a lot of trouble for others. Because Roger fits the shapeshifter character archetype so well, it shows just how true it is that when people are left outside of civilization, their new roles as people come out.

Another character that fits a certain archetype is Piggy. The archetype that he fits is the Mentor, since Piggy fits the mentor archetype so well, the book shows that when someone is put outside of civilization, they change and develop. A mentor is someone who teaches something to the main character in the novel. The mentor also is often first misunderstood, and later, the characters that doubted them, realize that the character was right. The last thing about the mentor, is they may also may suffer from the knowledge they have. After making fun of Piggy, and laughing at him, Ralph, Jack, and a boy named Simon are about to go explore the island, while they are talking, Piggy comes up behind them and says this to Ralph, “About being called Piggy. I said I didn’t care as long as they didn’t call me Piggy; an’ I said not to tell and then you went and’ said straight out-” (25). This shows Piggy was an outcast from the beginning, because the boys focused on his physical appearance, and not the actual knowledge that he had. They misunderstood him, and looked over him.

Another time Piggy showed himself as the character archetype Mentor, was when Jack called an assembly to tell everyone that he was leaving Ralph’s tribe and going to make his own, but while he’s explaining that he’s leaving, he talks about what Ralph does, “He’s like Piggy. He says things like Piggy. He isn’t a proper chief” (126). In this, Jack talks about how Ralph acts and says things like Piggy does, this shows how Piggy trains and aids Ralph. He does this because Ralph started to see Piggy for his knowledge, and now understands him for who he is. Later in the book, when Ralph is running away from Jack and his tribe, and is rushing, thinking of what to do. He thinks of the sensible thing to do. “What was the sensible thing to do? There was no Piggy to talk sense” (196). This shows how everyone looked over Piggy’s knowledge and laughed at him because of his appearance. However, now Ralph thinks about what Piggy would do because he’s sensible, unlike Jack and his tribe, by only focusing on hunting. Ralph and all the other boys say that Piggy was wrong just because of his appearance. However, Ralph throughout the book realized Piggy’s intelligence, and realizes that Piggy was right for everything. Piggy shows the mentor archetype so well; it shows that when people are outside of civilization their new roles as people are revealed.

In Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, Roger represents the character archetype Shapeshifter, and Piggy as the Mentor. Throughout the book Roger changes as well as his portrayal. The opinions about Piggy change dramatically. These changes between the two show that when one is placed outside of civilization, their roles as people change, and their true nature is revealed. Nowadays, society people cover up their uncivilized ways, under uniforms like the one the naval officer that saved the boys had, and within their true self, it is revealed that they have a different nature than what they show daily.


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Analysis Of Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

Suggesting the nation alleviate its issue of poverty by using the children of the underprivileged Irish population as livestock to feed the rich – making the starving children in Ireland useful members of the commonwealth in a cheap and easy fashion. Crude commentary on England’s both legal and economic exploitation of Ireland is considered a masterpiece of satire. Title represents any proposition to restore issues with a barbaric yet effective cure.

Essay is written by Jonathan Swift, also known as the master of satire. Misanthrope, hated humanity & everything came along with it. Essay is an aggressive form of satire on British society.

Essay was written in the first half of the Eighteenth Century. Around the time the aristocracy started losing its power to the middle class in the United Kingdom, time when satire began to emerge as a literary genre due to this increase in dissatisfaction. The literary genre itself reflected enlightenment philosophies, and was used to criticize the aristocracy in a secure manner.

Historical context

During 18th century, literary works reflected the rationalism of the enlightenment; emphasis on reason was recognizable across genres. Swift – as well as others – used irony to satirize humans’ claim to reason. Swift suggested only few humans behave rationally, and humanity is only reasonable in theory. When originally published in 1729, Ireland was essentially being consumed by the protestant British Empire, who completely suppressed the Catholic Irish population and neglected to consider the welfare of the largely impoverished population. Swift composed his harsh satirical proposal of children being used as food in order for the Irish population to escape their economic despair.

Brief description

Author uses strict economic reasoning accompanied by a form of moral self-righteousness. In essence he is suggesting for the poor, starving children to be fattened up and eventually fed to Ireland’s rich landowners. At the age of one these children can be sold into meat market; combatting both overpopulation and unemployment, sparing families expenses & improving culinary experience of wealthy & contributing to overall economic well-being of Ireland. Giving many ridiculous reasons for his argument, he generally states that the implementation of this will help solve Ireland’s complex social, political & economic problems. Quite a cocky tone; “whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of making these children sound, useful members of the commonwealth, would deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.” followed by; well I’ll give it a go then.

Literary elements

It is a classic example of a Juvenalian satire due to Swift’s angry tone and indignation over British colonialism. Swift’s economist persona shows throughout his proposal; especially when he provides the reader with specific statistics; stating that 20,000 may be reserved for breed, of which one quarter to be male, and that the remaining may be sold for their flesh at a year old. Leads the reader to believe that his proposal is sincere and meant for literal interpretation. Besides the proposal’s true Juvenalian nature and the inherent irony of the text, no other literary devices have been used in the proposal due to its academic nature.

Swift has written a satire so sharp and ahead of his times that it is still relevant today.


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Still I Rise and Significant Changes: Showcasing Struggles and Hopes of Minority

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

Have you ever thought of what it would be like to be treated unfairly? All because of your skin colour and gender? Have you ever had to struggle to make a living? Even while your best friend lies dead? Even today, despite most progressing, there are still numerous place and people around the world, facing the same struggles faced by the heroes in “Still I Rise,” written by Maya Angelou and “Significant Cigarettes” written by Rose Tremain. Both texts present protagonists struggling to live life –one, due to inequality, and due lack of hope for the future. They both make a journey through struggles into freedom and hope for the future, as well as a clear and bright image for the future.

The poem “Still I Rise,” portrays hope and successes for the speaker and struggles faced in order to get there. When Maya Angelou, compares herself to being “like moons and like suns,” the simile signifies that she is extremely optimistic about the future and she compares herself to being as powerful as extraterrestrial objects and that she is unstoppable in her determination to rise. She presents ideas about “gold mines,” “diamonds” and “oil wells” which link to the semantic field of wealth, prosperity and determination. This may show that she is desired by all and that she is as powerful as the objects lying outside human reach and that she is unbreakable by anyone or anything. She also refers to her past as “rooted in pain,” which could portray that pain is fundamental to her journey to success. She is proud of the struggles she and her ancestors faced in their quest towards equality and freedom for African-Americans and women. The word “root,” could suggest that this pain is an essential part of her character and will stay with her forever. It shows the incredible strength of her pain – the building blocks of her success and her journey. Rising from this pain, leads to her seeing her future as “wondrously clear,” painting her future as successful and full of opportunities. She may also refer to this success as the “gifts” and the “dreams” that her ancestors gave her. She uses this metaphor to thank her forefathers for her ability to speak, her womanhood and the strength and resilience they gave her to fight to make her point heard. She also thanks them for giving her the black skin. She believes this as an essential trait inherited by her as, through having to overcome such adversity, she has developed the ability to fight for her voice to be heard – her skin color and gender were seen as barriers to progress but is because of these, that she has and she is now respected. Finally, the word “dreams” show that she feels she is desired and wanted by everyone and that they aspire to be as successful and influential as she is.

In Still I Rise, Maya Angelou rises from struggles to freedom and hope for the future. She does this on her own and without a lot of aid from others. However, in “Significant Cigarettes,” Lev also rises form struggle to hope about the future, but he does so with the help of another character, Lydia. Hope is presented through Lydia’s optimistic attitude and influential behavior. Lydia changes Lev’s statement, “May you help me,” to “May I help you.” She uses this reversal of pronouns to make Lev stop relying on others for help, but to help others in their problems and to become self – sufficient and not require anyone’s help. She does this in order to give Lev a more optimistic approach towards life, as he would feel joy as he helped people. The book she was reading was called “The Power and the Glory,” and she read this book to indirectly influence Lev into possessing these qualities to succeed in his life – qualities which Lydia possessed. Lev “envied Lydia,” who was reading her English book. This portrayed that Lydia had a positive influence on Lev to learn English, as he was weak at it. This could also show that Lev looks in awe at Lydia, in hopes of gaining some of the qualities she possessed. Lydia shows her “school yard,” “high fence and the apartment block” as a polysyndetic list of her being trapped in the dull countryside and that she is escaping it along with Lev, in a quest for a better life. However, Lydia had an optimistic and hopeful approach towards this, but all Lev sees is the negatives of even positive things.

Despite the hopeful and successful images painted in the texts, both the protagonists had to go through struggles on their journey to success. In “Still I Rise,” refers to her “soulful cries.” The adjective “soulful” intensified the pain she had felt. This also gives an allusion to her race and where she came from. The noun “cries” also shows the amount of pain she is in and how she is completely broken from the inside. She cannot hold the struggle in herself anymore and lets it out of herself. She repeats “you may,” three times in the beginning of the sixth stanza. This anaphoric tricolon of rhetorical questions shows how Maya Angelou is accusing the audience of being sadistic. This portrays a painful image of time back then. She says that the people would “cut,” “shoot,” and “kill” her. Using this semantic field of physical violence, Maya Angelou accuses the audience of racism and sexism of her being black and being a woman. People with black skin and women were severely mistreated at the time, showing how the metaphors represent the pain and mistrust she had on people back then. They were also mistreated through “bitter, twisted lies,” showing that she was wrongly accused of committing a crime, despite her being innocent. She could not fight her case for justice, due to her skin color and her gender. However, this could also portray that she has broken free from this mistrust when she said they “may,” thus portraying that she now has a voice of her own and she is confident of who she is. She also believes that the people want to see her “broken,” showing that people treat her wrong in hopes of seeing her destroyed and devastated, as that is what they believed black people were meant to face, absolute mistreatment and injustice.

In Significant Cigarettes, Rose Tremain presents the character of Lev, as a struggling male in hopes of finding a better life. We see that he is portrayed as “handsome,” however his possessions are “grey toned,” “old” and “dented.” this semantic field of poverty juxtaposes his external persona. This portrayed him as a young man who was exposed to an extremely impoverished lifestyle. He suffered from poverty, hopelessness and hardship. He says that an “unlit cigarette” was his only companion and friend. This portrayed him as introverted and confined to a life of isolation and loneliness. This could also portray how the adjective “unlit” could show how he thought his future would be – meagre, uninteresting and harmful, just like the cigarette. He also shows how he had “lain for five nights” beside his wife Marina’s bed, while she was “dying.” This shows his dedication towards his family, despite him being resourcefully poor. He portrays himself lying on the “linoleum flooring” besides his wife’s bed. This showed him trying his best to dedicate his life towards his family, despite him sacrificing his own comfort and freedom for them. Lev also makes a reference to the “darkness” in the bus. This could portray the light conditions in the bus. Additionally, it could also show his mental condition, as he is devastated by the death of his beloved wife, who he loved the most. This may have scarred an image of his wife dying in his brain, leading to his unlit and hopeless mental state.

In “Still I rise,” structure plays a large role in the effect the poem has on the audience. The poem begins with her struggling in life, facing problems of inequality and sexism. She portrays herself as “falling,” “broken” and being “trod” on. She then creates a contrast in the end, and switches to a positive tone, when she portrays herself as a “black,” and “leaping” ocean, ready to take over the whole world with her new-found self-confidence and her victory over inequality and mistreatment of women. She has honored her journey as successful and fruitful with her belief in herself now. There is a volta at the 29th line of the poem, where there is a change from Quatrains in the beginning and there is also a change of rhyme scheme. This shows that she is not the same as she was and has changed from being mistreated and looked down upon, to having a voice of her own and is now a role model to a lot of people, and she is proud of this. The tenses in the poem also change to support this point, when she changes from saying “I’ll rise” in future tense, to saying “I rise” in the present tense. This portrays a progression in her tone to now achieving what she wants and standing at the top. When Maya Angelou says that she is the “dream” of the future, she refers to the speech made by Martin Luther King, when he tried to eradicate the barrier between the way black people were treated at the time. She was influenced by this and thus why she refers to the noun “dream” in her poem.

In “Significant Cigarettes,” Rose Tremain uses structure as a vital part of the story to portray Lev’s journey and progression in the above. The story goes from Lev being pessimistic in his life, about not having “enough” money to survive and losing his job at the “Baryn Sawmill,” and also being isolated when he “huddled against the window” to then contrasting his tione to being optimistic about his life and wanting to be at the forefront of the action and he would “make [the British people] share” their luck and prosperity with him. This portrays his determination and hope about the future, which was sparked when he met Lydia. Lydia’s hope juxtaposed Lev’s pessimism and negative approach. When Lev talks about running “out of trees” and how he lost his job because of it, Lydia seemed positive and queried “What other work” Lev could do, showing her progressive mindset, which had a positive approach on Lev. Lev’s age also juxtaposes his physical appearance, when we were told that he will “soon be forty-three.” This contrasts his “Grey toned,” and “old” appearance. This shows the poverty he was exposed to and lived in all his life.

In conclusion, both texts portray protagonists as struggling in the beginning, with Lev “huddling” against windows, having “unlit” cigarettes as a “companion” and being jobless now, contrasting with the freedom and determination for his life he now has and a large amount of hope for his life, as well as a bright image for his future, when he wants to help others and feel happy about doing so. In “Still I Rise,” Maya Angelou talks about being mistreated by “bitter” and “twisted lies” to show the life of hardship and struggles faced by black and African American women in the era, and how they were severely mistreated. However, she rises to self-confidence and a voice of her own when she says “I rise,” compared to her future tense of the phrase earlier on in the poem, thus showing a progression in her beliefs. Both the texts have a strong message to present to the youth about being positive and always having the right mindset, despite the constant wrong going on in the world today.


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Comparison of Protagonist in “Araby” and “Cathedral” 

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

Epiphany refers to the point in a literary text when a character has a sudden realization or insight that affects his or her views in some significant way. In both short stories “Araby” by James Joyce and “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver the narrators both go through an epiphany. In “Abary” the narrator and also the main character in the story is a young boy. Throughout the story the boy seems to have an innocent crush on his friend’s sister. She asks him about going to the bazaar and says she can not go, the narrator becomes excited to go to the event and bring his crush home a gift, later on in the story the narrator has an epiphany and realizes life is not always fair. In the Cathedral the narrator begins dreading letting his wife’s blind friend to come visit. He has many stereotypical assumptions about the blind and is not looking forward to having a blind man stay at his house, especially one who has such a close relationship with his wife. The narrator later has an epiphany as well and becomes more open minded. In both of these stories the narrators have an epiphany and mature from a sudden realization in different ways.

In “Araby” the unnamed narrator has an innocent crush on his friend’s sister. Each day he places himself in the front room of his house so he can see her leave her house, and then he rushes out to walk behind her quietly until finally passing her. As the narrator states in the story “When she came out on the doorstep my heart leaped. I ran to the hall, seized my books and followed her” (Joyce 332). The narrator and Mangan’s sister do not talk much, but he always thinks about her. Despite the narrator’s lack of understanding his feelings and how to go about them he is very infatuated about this girl who is never given a name throughout the story. His feelings for her is so intense that he fears he will never gather the courage to speak to actually speak to the girl and express his feelings for her. Then one morning, Mangan’s sister asks the narrator if he is planning to go to Araby, a Dublin bazaar. She says she would have loved to go but that she has already committed to attend a retreat with her convent. The narrator was shocked that magnans sister, his dear crush was speaking to him, he is overwhelmed with emotions. He then offers to bring her back something from the bazaar. This small conversation between the two made the narrator extremely excited and anxious to go to the bazaar in hopes of finding the perfect item to bring back to the girl who makes his heart skip a beat. He is eager and restless waiting to go to the bazaar, he can not focus on anything else, he does not want to. He reminds his uncle the morning of the bazaar that he wishes to go but will need some money from him for the train fair when his uncle returns from work. When he came home from school for dinner his uncle had not yet returned home from work, at this point the boy did not worry for it was still early. He eats his dinner, still eagerly waiting but there is no sign of his uncles. He is very restless at this point as he says “I began to walk up and down the room, clenching my fists” (Joyce 334). Finally at nine pm his uncle returns home, unfazed that the boy has been longing for his return. His uncle did apologize after as he must have gotten caught up at work, the boy finally got his money to go to the bazaar. He hurried to get there before it was closed but he was too late. The majority of the stalls at the bazaar were closed, most of the hallways there were dark and it was very quiet. He looked around but was disappointed in what he was before him. He walked up to a stall where a woman was talking to two men. The stall was still open but he did not buy anything as the woman did not seem very interested in him purchasing anything, the narrator felt unwanted. The boy was crushed, he had planned to go to the bazaar, buy something lovely for his crush in hopes that it would help express his feelings for her. He then realizes Mangan’s sister is just a girl who will probably not care whether he fulfills his promise to buy her something at the bazaar. He thinks back to his conversation with her when he promised he would buy her something and realizes that was really only meaningless small talk and nothing more. That is the epiphany the narrator has, his uncle was late arriving home late from work, which is a normal thing but the boy did not understand why this was happening to him, why all his hopes and expectations slowly deteriorated from there. At this point he begins to realize that life is not always fair and things do not always work out the way one may hope and anticipated for. When he arrived at the bazaar and seen the woman flirting and paying more attention to two men than selling him something at her stall he was let down again. His views on life and love interests were turned upside down. He no longer thinks a small gift from the bazaar will win over his crush and he now thinks a lot less about their small conversation he once was ecstatic over. The narrator matures from this epiphany, he learns life lessons and grows as a young boy as he gets a taste of real life circumstances and how not everything works out in your favour.

Similarly to the narrator in “Araby” the narrator in the “Cathedral”also experiences an epiphany that matures him. Despite the fact that the narrator in this story is a married adult he still learns a valuable life lesson and matures throughout the story when he has an epiphany and his views on a topic completely change. In this short story the narrator begins the story by explaining that his wife’s blind friend, whose wife has just died, is going to spend the night at their house. He is not happy about this and does not look forward the the bland man, Robert visiting. He says the man’s blindness unsettles him and goes on to explain that his wife met the blind man ten years ago when she worked for him as a reader to the blind in Seattle. His wife and Robert have a very close relationship which makes the narrator uneasy and intimidated. The wife and the blindman have not seen each other in sometime but they stay in touch by sending tapes back and forth to one another. The narrator says that his wife once asked him to listen to one of the blind man’s tapes. They started to listen and the blind man was about the say what he had concluded about his dear friends husband but they were interrupted before the narrator could hear anything about himself. The narrator was briefly relieved that he did not have hear Roberts thoughts on him as he says “ Maybe it was just as well. I’d heard all I wanted to” (Carver 35). Throughout the story, it was clear the narrator was not in touch with his wife and did not seem to understand her desirer to have Robert come and visit. The narrator was rude to his wife when they discussed Roberts visit as he mocked blind people when he joked to his wife about taking Robert bowling when he comes to visit. Overall the narrator seems fairly arrogant. Finally when Robert arrives at first the narrator is uneasy, he does not not what to say to Robert or how to act around him. He goes on to explain what Robert looks and what he is wearing and states that he finds it strange that Robert does not wear dark glasses as he expected him to. After the narrator spends some time with Robert over dinner and watching television with him his view on Robert and his stereotypical expectations of the blind change. He is forced to get to know Robert when his wife gets ready for bed and falls asleep on the couch with him and Robert. The narrator and Robert talk and the narrator becomes more open minded slowly. The narrator’s epiphany happens towards the end of the story when him and Robert are watching a show about a cathedral and he works up enough courage to ask Robert a couple questions all based around his curiosity about whether or not Robert knows what a cathedral looks like. Roberts asks the narrator to get some paper and draw a cathedral while Robert places his hand on his to get an idea of the structure. Its at this point the narrator comes to the realization that everything he assumed about Robert and blind people in general is false as he has now formed an unanticipated friendship with Robert.

Both protagonists in these short stories are the narrators and are never given a name. They both have assumptions about things in their life but towards the end of each story their views change as they both have epiphanies. The young boy in “Araby” is let down by his uncle and is unable to get to the bazaar on time to get his crush a gift. He realizes life is not always fair and his views on his love interest and their relationship change when he sees an english women having a similar meaningless talk with two men like the one he had with Magnans sister. The narrator in “Cathedral” has assumptions about the blind and at first is uncomfortable with his wife’s blind friend coming to visit. Once Robert arrives and the narrator gets to know and understand him his views changed and he begins to like Robert as he helps him draw and picture what a cathedral looks like. He becomes more open minded and less arrogant as he spends time with Robert. Both of these protagonists mature in their own way which seems odd when one is a young boy and the other is an adult. They learn lessons and their views change on a topic that theirs minds were once set on. The young boy grows up and learns about life and how it is often unfair. The adult realizes that he was closed minded before when he judge a person based on stereotypical things when in fact he really had no idea what Robert was like.

In conclusion both protagonists in “Araby” and “Cathedral” go through similar situations and both have epiphanies that in the end help them grow and mature. They learn different life lessons on about two very different topics. Overall the outcome of each story benefits the narrator as they both now have a better understanding. The young boy in “Araby” learns about life, his crush and his idea on these two things change and he becomes more mature. The man in “Cathedral” changes his stubborn and jealous views of his wife’s blind friend as he too becomes friends with Robert and opens his mind up. Both Joyce and Carver write about valuable lessons in their stories as their protagonist both go through an epiphany that makes them grow and mature.


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American Beauty: A Struggle of Mixing Appereance with Reality

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

A surplus amount of people in the common everyday life usually are not content with what they have. Instead, they possess a drive that makes them desire what they cannot have, also known as envy. Moreover, our culture is consumed with the vacant promises of materialism, like having a well-paying job, perfect family and/or luxurious house. Having the image of being happy but in reality, happiness is what they lack. The American beauty is a film that premiered in 1999. The film is centered on a suburban family; Lester, the main protagonist, Carolyn, the wife and Jane, the daughter. American beauty demonstrates what it would seem to be a stereotypical modern suburban family in America, representing in a dark cynical way, the culture society has in this era; revealing the struggles with the negative side of appearance vs reality, and discovering happiness.

A façade is an external appearance that is maintained to obscure a less pleasing or laudable reality. Usually delineated by one who is unhappy but is not willing to reveal their melancholy so they put up a mask to not only delude others but also themselves. This happens to be a major theme in the film, which is confronted by most character presented. Carolyn Burnham, who is clearly in denial of her lifestyle, is obsessed with her job. She believes that the way to happiness is to be successful. Ironically, even though she has a successful life, it is blatantly obvious that she is not fulfilled by her success and possessions she has. She attempts to be exultant through her career as real estate agent but manages to fail at selling houses. In a scene near the beginning of the film, Carolyn is cleaning the house and she constantly states to herself “I will sell this house today”. She than breaks down crying when she is alone, with a close up shot to make the scene more emotional, due to the fact that she was not able to sell a house (Ball) As the story progresses, she even clearly utters to Lester in a party they went to “Act happy tonight” so that she can allude the people to believe that they are in a happy relationship since that is involved with being successful.

Furthermore, Jane’s friend, Angela Hayes also projects an image of herself to be this popular, confident, beautiful girl who everyone wants and finds very attractive and interesting. In reality she is just this insecure girl, which is why she constantly bashes at other people about being unadorned, dull, ugly and so on because she truly feels deep down that she has all those flaws. In one scene, which happens to be very ironic, she gets to a dispute with these girl and in the end she says “I am so sick of people taking out there insecurities on me” which happens to be exactly what she is doing. Also near the end of the movie, Ricky barges in and requests Jane to go with him to New York and Jane agrees. Upon hearing this, Angela lashes out at them, causing Ricky to lash back stating her flaws so she storms out. The scene right after that we witness her sitting on the stairs, sobbing, in the darkness of the night with the camera behind the bars on the stairs if we were observing her, and blueish tint added to add more affect to the sadness and hurt she must be feeling (Ball.)

Additionally, another character that struggles with appearance vs reality would be Ricky’s father, Colonel Fitts. From the commencement we get a vibe that he abhors homosexuals and does not support them in any sort of way. He seems very belligerent towards them, and it is made clear about how he feels towards them. It personally gives the impression that he has all this hostility towards homosexuals since he himself might actually be sexually confused but wants to give the image of power and manhood. At one point he suspects that his son and Lester are having a sexual relationship with each other and confirms it when Ricky goes over to give Lester more marijuana and from Colonel’s point of view, it seems otherwise. This causes him to confront his son and you can see how distraught the colonel is when his son, who lies about what he truly did and confirms being gay. Conclusively causing the Colonel to break down crying after Ricky decides to leave. Eventually leading to the confrontation between Lester and Colonel Fitts, who at that point was seemed to be infuriated, due to the scenes tone with the rain and thunder, the darkish tone and the Colonel shaking from rage, it would seem that way but instead after being comforted, it is realized that he truly is sexually confused, which results in him kissing Lester. Lester than rejects him due to the obvious misunderstanding. Unfortunately the situation happens to get considerably worse, making the colonel in complete denial about the reality of his “complication” and not wanting to deal with the veracity, he murders Lester. This movie noticeably through the whole movie demonstrates that sometimes things aren’t always what they seem. A majority of the time, due to denial, fear of change and complications, people put up a pretense that all is well. As shown, not being true to yourself leads to horrific results.

Happiness is a big factor on people’s life and in this film is definitely a lacking factor. In the start you can notice that there are more people who are unhappy than happy. In the intro of the movie, when Lester is narrating, straight of the bat he says “in a way, I’m already dead” (Ball.) So we already get a revelation that the main character of this story is not pleased at all with his life. With him and his wife not being on good terms, his daughter wants nothing to do with either parents, and a job he doesn’t even enjoys. This is clearly seen in the scene where they are eating together at the table. Later on, his wife tells him to act happy at the party they are in, in which he retorts he is happy in a sarcastic tone. In the act of his wife wishes, he kisses his wife out of the blue and states they have a real healthy relationship, which in fact, they do not. Eventually after realizing he wants Jane’s friend, she becomes the spark of his initiation to becoming happy. He realizes that he is tired of his life and desires to change so that he can be joyful in which he surprises his self in the start of his change, where he states “It ‘s a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself. Makes you wonder what else you can do that you ‘ve forgotten about” (Ball.) Eventually, near his death, Lecter gets asked by Angela how he is doing, in which he replies that he is great. At this point he finally realized that he finally retained his happiness.Even after he dies, he narrates the end, and he realizes the beauty in life and becomes grateful for his “stupid little life.” (Ball.) Jane achieves her happiness through Ricky, as her letting him into her life made her happy. Ricky from the start always had happiness, he regarded the world to be beautiful, which is why he filmed every little thing. Carolyn found her happiness through buddy but let it go due to her ideals of success. Everyone needs happiness, without happiness, life I just tedious and uninteresting. Each character has their own kind of joy, some already have it, others are on the way of developing it, and some obtain it but then let it go. Nonetheless, no matter your age, it’s never too late to get what you want to be blissful.

Life is full of numerous surprises, it has its abundant of Obstacles and can usually be Complicated and also very overwhelming and confusing at times. Especially when one strives to obtain what they want. Through this film, we get the opportunity to experience what it means to struggle with putting on a façade and not dealing with reality but also we get to witness the realization of what true happiness is and that sometimes change is needed to obtain it. That is the luxury of life, to attain your goals and wishes, strive for the best and never do something or stay in something that causes you misery. Life is too short, as shown in the movie, so live it to the fullest.


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Development of the Lazarus Story as a Metaphor in Crime and Punishment

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

In Crime and Punishment, a novel written by Fyodor Dostoevsky, figurative language, specifically extended metaphors, is used quite frequently. The use of an extended metaphor helps to enrich the text and help with one’s overall understanding of the novel. The major extended metaphor in Crime and Punishment is the use of the Lazarus story and its connection to Sounia and Raskolnikov. This metaphor helps one understand how Sonia is a representation of Jesus and Raskolnikov can be compared to Lazarus, and how characteristics of the story, such as death, hope, and the number four relate to Crime and Punishment.

In the novel written by Dostoevsky, the reader gets almost continuous insight on the character’s thoughts and actions due to the use of stream of consciousness. Raskolnikov, the protagonist, commits a murder and deals with the consequences throughout the novel. Further on in the novel, Raskolnikov meets a woman named Sonia, a prostitute that wishes to escape her way of life. One day, Sonia is asked by Raskolnikov to read the Lazarus story out of the Bible. This request seems odd because Raskolnikov does not seem extremely religious, especially because he murdered not one, but two, people. Located in John 11, verses 38 through 48, the Lazarus story follows Lazarus of Bethany, a follower of Jesus. His sisters, Mary and Martha, rush to inform Jesus of their brother’s illness. Instead of quickly aiding Lazarus, Jesus waits two days before visiting Lazarus. When Jesus finally arrives, Lazarus is dead and has been in his tomb for four days. As expected, the sisters are angry at Jesus for neglecting their brother, but Jesus says he will bring their brother back to life. On line twenty-five of the Holy Bible, New International Version, it says, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.’” After Jesus converses with Martha, he proceeds to resurrect Lazarus. After ordering the others to remove the stone, Jesus says, “Lazarus, come out!” Jesus then said, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” As one can see, Jesus was capable of resurrecting Lazarus after being dead for four days. This story has an important tie to Crime and Punishment because Raskolnikov sees Sonia as his Jesus. Sonia is an extremely religious person and has an unwavering belief in God. On page two hundred and fifty-five, after Raskolnikov suggests that there is no God, it says, “Sonia’s face suddenly changed; a tremor passed over it. She looked at him with unutterable reproach, tried to say something, but could not speak and broke into bitter, bitter sobs, hiding her face in her hands.” Sonia is a committed believer of God and this shows because she sacrifices herself for her family, just like Jesus did. In addition, she forgives and accepts Raskolnikov while looking to God for forgiveness. Sonia is a selfless character that mirrors Jesus in Raskolnikov’s life. Many things point to and support the claim that Sonia “is” Jesus. As for the other part of the story, it is evident that Raskolnikov is similar to Lazarus. In the novel, one can see Raskolnikov struggling with internal and external factors, such as guilt, isolation, and insanity, in order to support and understand that Raskolnikov died. On page seventy-two, it says, “For the first moment he thought he was going mad. A dreadful chill came over him; but the chill was from the fever that had begun long before in his sleep. Now he was suddenly taken with violent shivering, so that his teeth chattered and all his limbs were shaking.” He may not have physically died, but his soul and mind did as a result of his crime. Through their love and future relationship, Sonia was able to bring Raskolnikov back from such a trying time in his life. Even when he turns himself in, Sonia is right there beside him supporting him and sharing the work of God. Both Raskolnikov’s “dying” and Sonia as a Jesus figure are important concepts of the Lazarus story in Crime and Punishment.

There are many characteristics of the Lazarus story used in the novel. As previously stated, Raskolnikov experiences a type of mental death due to his actions. Raskolnikov, however, is not the only character who experiences it; One can see that Sonia also goes through a “death” experience as she is forced to give up her life and become a prostitute to provide for her family. It is certain that she is dead inside because there is no coming back from such fate. Although she did not die physically, just like Raskolnikov, her life and character did as a result of her lifestyle, She becomes a shell of a person that hopes to find a person that can save her. Sonia believes and wishes that someone or something will save her from poverty so she can quit prostituting and be herself again. This pleading wish is evident in Raskolnikov because of his salvation and wish to start his life over. Through their love and support for one another, Sonia and Raskolnikov are able to have a sense of a new life. They found love in a very unexpected way and it truly benefits both of them. This hope ties in with the Lazarus story because both characters get some sense of salvation at the end of the novel, as Jesus and Lazarus did.

In addition to hope and death, the number four is significant when attempting to understand the connection between Crime and Punishment and the Lazarus story. At one point in the novel, Raskolnikov was unconscious for four continuous days due to him being sick. This correlates to the Lazarus story because Lazarus was dead for four days before Jesus resurrected him, In addition to this, Sonia reads the story to Raskolnikov four days after he committed his crime. It is almost as if the reading of the story was the start of his metaphorical resurrection. In addition, Raskolnikov has four dreams throughout the novel: the dream about the mare, the dream about the police, the dream about the stranger in a long coat, and the dream he remembers having in the prison in Siberia. All of the dreams help to decipher the complexity of Raskolnikov’s character. Finally, the number four is mentioned by other characters, which adds on to the significance. While Sonia is reading the Lazarus story to Raskolnikov, it says on page two hundred and sixty, “She laid emphasis on the word four,” While Sonia may have just been saying it like this to emphasize the power of Jesus, (as he was able to resurrect somebody after four days) it adds on to the significance of the number and its role in Crime and Punishment. The number four may seem insignificant as it is only a minor detail, but it helps to finalize the critical connection between the Lazarus story and Crime and Punishment.

Through the use of extended metaphors, the reader is able to understand how the Lazarus story is parallel to Crime and Punishment. Through critical characteristics, such as death, hope, and the number four, one can see how the two pieces are connected. Using Sonia as Jesus and Raskolnikov as Lazarus helps to fully bring two stories together and help one understand the reasoning and actions of the characters in Crime and Punishment. Without such literary techniques and the use of the Lazarus story, Crime and Punishment would not have as much meaning.


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Masculism and Metaphor in Freud’s Essay ‘Some Physical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction between the Sexes’

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

A lot of what has been written and perhaps a lot of what will be written, will be written with the use of some form of technology. Language is the most obvious example, it is with the use of this technology that we understand, interpret and reinterpret what we experience. It is most often the case that throughout history those understandings, interpretations and reinterpretations are affected by biases of the individual mind/body or the collective minds/bodies, as such as I attempt to write this essay on Masculism, I am aware that beyond the fact that I am of the masculine sex, I can easily fall under the prejudices that lie well beyond my conscious understanding of the workings and memories of my body and of my mind respectively. In spite of this fact, I do not attempt to purposely write in an unbiased way as it is very certain that discursivity in discourse brings forth power, regardless.

There has been an increasing interest in feminist discourse, dealing with notions of the women in society which has articulated the sphere of the women in their domestic life, work life, education, sexuality and identity in connection to a repression from the opposite sex, the male/masculine. On the opposite side, writings that deal with the notions of the male/masculine are much less prominent at a historical and philosophical level in the discourses of our time. Instead at a simple glance what we see is a battle between the sexes, genders and powers of control in the interconnected networks of the economic, technological, biological, psychological and political to name a few. As such the following text tries to look into the topic of sexuality, gender and modes of practices and how we come to have an understanding of these things. Moreover, I intend to analyse how this relates to masculism with the aim to provide a different way of talking about the male, one that it is less metaphoric commonly used in the feminist discourse but also pointing to a multiplicity of the sexes. I begin by tracing a historical view on gender, one proposed by (Coontz & Henderson).

I follow this by using a similar train of thought proposed by Professor DuBois Page in her analysis on the historicity on women and the female body within the ideological frameworks of ancient Greek philosophy and psychoanalysis. In addition, I use it also as a source for asking the question of why man/male felt the need to understand, conquer and master himself within the world, in effect from a feminist stand, it produced an metaphysical interpretation of man at the center of the universe, as a certain type of metaphorical discourse which has colonised the very narratives of the written word.

Write what goes in the middle? (Machinery of Dominance)

For the final part of this essay I proceed to look into possible reinterpretations of masculism, looking at two opposites directions, one that says we should completely abandon traditional values of the masculine and on the other hand considering a return perhaps to a more egalitarian version of the historical masculine message. In the end to conclude I will argue that there is a need for further critical analysis of the position of men from a masculine point of view.

Technology, Production and Body Practices

The difficulty in trying to trace the origins of gender roles and differences lead to the theorizing of possible causes, to which there are different angles that have been written about including a biological essentialist perspective that talks about difference in gender roles determined in the sexual organs and biological constitutions of both the female and male body. In tangent to this there is also the economic and technological view that gender roles appeared to proliferate with the outset of the agricultural revolution and its sexual division of labour. Alesina, Giuliano, Nunn (2013) attempts to correlate the use of the plough in agriculture with female labour participation, creating a hypothesis that suggests that women’s participation declined as prior practices such as shifting-agriculture became replaced by the more intensive practice of the plow which was more adequate to the characteristics of a male body. “Agricultural societies were more gender- biased than hunter-gatherer societies. Population growth and land scarcity made cultivation of food more labour-intensive, which created “a premium on male brawn in ploughing and other heavy farm work” (Iversen and Rosenbluth, 2010, p. 32). This argument cannot be framed and should not be framed as a historical evidence for male dominance or female subordinating to it but a tendency for the potentiality to give rise to modes of identity and classification that become reinterpreted generation after generation.

In other words, the developments in the tools of production and practices of production is and was gendered in the sense that the technology itself (Plow) marked a mode of difference for both bodies but it is not the origin itself, instead it simply aided different practices of productions. In Coontz, S., & Henderson, P. (1986), Lila Leibowitz provides a much more holistic historical narrative that avoids a reductive linking of the sexual division of labour to the division of productive activities by sex. She discusses the sexual division of labour “as the totality of social relations between men and women joint together by production, arguing that production itself at much earlier times was undifferentiated of any sort of social classification, “Short life spans, a relatively late age of sexual maturation and rates of population growth which suggests that fertility levels were low, combined to indicate the early hominid populations were composed primarily of young non-dimorphic members. Species survival could not, then, have hinged on the subsistence activities of the few adults in a group but must have depended on the development of cooperative production by all and for all” (Coontz, S., & Henderson, P. (1986) p. 55). Leibowitz touches on a range of factors all playing a role in constructing a sexual division of labour, as varied as production and productivity, population profiles, subsistence technologies, intergroup exchange, incest rules, alliances and sex role socialisation. She argues, fire and projectile hunting tools created new modes of practices”” which changed how production in a local group was pursued establishing the underlying conditions for dividing labour by sex and by age”. Projectile Hunting required smaller groups, its techniques demanded training and self control, these qualities were best fitted to adults. Hunting became more efficient, this meant the production of food increased.

As a consequence, to excessive production, it required more demanding fire and hearth centered processing technologies, falling more often than not to women, the young and the disabled, primarily those who did no go hunting. For Leibowitz such initial division, was pragmatic which remained for some time essentially flexible. A proscriptive division appeared much later, even after intergroup exchanges appeared. In essence the idea that production can be tied down to biological sexual differences is problematic, because as seen before production precedes any type of classification, and that at the beginning, initial forms of delegating activities were of a more pragmatic nature, therefore “An informal or circumstantial division of labour along sex line seems likely”. A bio-essentialist explanation of gender differences becomes limited as it seems to be the case that roles of the female and male and their separation in practices evolved some time after projectile hunting and the use of fire. As such these roles are not determined in our biology but rather are constructed within a flux of interactions in the environment. In positing the idea that there is no single cause for the difference between the male/female, that gender sexuality is not the origins of gender roles, that neither production or practices of productions are the sole genesis means there is a need to provide an analysis of how we come to understand the binary difference that arises from a world in constant flux, therefore I now turn to explore metaphors and metonymy around the female body in Ancient Greek society explored by Professor DuBois Page (1988).

Metaphors and Women in Ancient Greece

Looking into the metaphors of ancient pre-platonic narrative and the change, to the use of metonymy rather than metaphor in post-platonic discourse. Page argues that much of Greek literacy around the 5th century BC, had a particular framework for understanding the female’s body, one which relied on metaphor and the analogizing of the reproductive notions of the women, to those of agricultural and religious traditions practiced at the time. The pre-platonic logic emphasized difference in bodies and a sense of otherness but did not proclaimed the female body as necessarily “lacking” or as “less”. However, such use of metaphors in time lead to a reinterpretation by those who can speak and write, a change to the logic, to colonize, to become the signifier, to be able to name those that are marked by difference, resulting in a disembodied prose in a manner that is degrading and lacking. In “Metaphors we live by” (2003), Lakoff and Johnsen provide a clear definition of metaphor and metonymy:

“Metaphor and metonymy are different kinds of processes. Metaphor is principally a way of conceiving of one thing in terms of another, and its primary function is understanding. Metonymy, on the other hand, has primarily a referential function, that is, it allows us to use one entity to stand for another. But metonymy is not merely a referential device. It also serves the function of providing understanding.” “And so it was when Demeter of the lovely hair, yielding to her desire, lay down with Iaison and loved him in a thrice-turned field,” (p, 49)

Women and the Oven

“There were many other gifts of no great importance including round silver basins; but I must not forget to mention a figure of a woman in gold, four and a half feet high, said by the Delphians to represent the women who baked Croesu’s bread”. (p, 115)

“As it inflates (in the womb), the seeds forms a membrane around itself; for its surface, because of its vicinity, stretches around it without a break, in just as in the same way as a membrane is formed on the surface of bread when it is being baked; the bread rises as it grows warm and inflates, and as it is inflated, so the membrane surface forms.” -The nature of the Child (p, 124).

“Perhaps I should say a word or two, on the duties among you are now widowed. I can say all I have to say in a short word of advice. Your great glory is not to be inferior to what God has made you, and the greatest glory of a woman is to be least talked about men, whether they are praising you or criticising you” (p,147) These metaphors are written as stories that belong to Greek Mythology, at the same time they offer a perspective of the relations of women and the environment first and foremost, and how men come to understand those relations, they reflect on the woman in likeness to the Earth, as the mother of production and reproduction, to which men must help to continue the cycle. They refer to women in relation to a vessel, to an oven, that men have to fill and heat. “…as a stone that must be laboured over, set in place, and constructed which guards the property and chastity of the home, the metaphor of the tablet is the final logical moment in this process, a metaphor that emphasizes the passivity and receptivity of female interiority, that assumes that the mover of the stylus, the inscriber, the literate male who carves and marks the passive”

However, these metaphors do not show in any emphatic way that the female is inferior to the male, they show an understanding of difference using metaphors. It attempts to define what the male does not know, does not see, and does not understand, to what he sees, knows from experience, e.g. sexual reproduction to earthly reproduction, and the women’s practice in the home. Having said this, with the way language is used, it seems also that there is a tendency to suggest that there is a form of appropriation “…. Femininity and agriculture are in relation of structural symmetry instead of a relation of sympathy….as in the Demeter myth. Both women and land are objects of domination, exercised through masculine labour: the hard but honourable labour of the small landowner; the exhausting labour of a husband endowed with a wife with an insatiable sexual appetite, but who bears sons. The economic and social reality which preceded and coexisted these metaphors are startlingly different, many texts show that monarchy states around these time periods primarily relied on slave production for wealth accumulation,” … and it turns out that the monarch’s wealth rests on cloth, oil and the wine trade, in other words women’s labour. (176). A singular division of sexes is impossible to draw, there was already social classification which included the royal offices, priests (priest-kings), sacerdotal families, warriors, farmers, slaves. Women operated in each of these class divisions, but there is little written about the wives of peasants, and women as slaves. Plato & Socrates

Prior to the formation of Greek democracy, women of royal lineage had been associated as transactions that strengthen clan alliances and her ability to pass down power, women were used by men to preserve the ability to reign over land property. And on the other hand the royal women were also considered to have power and having the capacity to be able to use it, in many cases the typical case of the hero killing the king and marrying the daughter or wives played out. The different manifestations of lineage power were a problem for Greek democracy, because allowing citizenship for women would make democracy impossible to succeed, if democratic laws were to include women, it would undermine the power structure of a patrilineal system, which for them was simpler to the the instability of power they inherited.

The essay ‘Some Psychical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction between the Sexes’ by Sigmund Freud offers one the most dogmatic and even opinionated constructions of our psychological understanding of sexuality, even though there may be some kind of general insights in the statements made by Freud regarding sex, the conclusions it tries to reach are rather proscriptive and denotes behavioural responses with metonymic descriptive language. In the essay Freud describes a girl’s discovery. “They notice the penis of a brother or playmate, strikingly visible and of large proportions, at once recognize it as the superior counterpart of their own small and inconspicuous organ, and from that time forward fall a victim to envy for the penis” 11. Professor page (1988) makes a case for the irrationality of such a texts and provides a key insight stating, “Freud imagined himself as a little girl, seeing the massive organ of the little boy. This is the theatricality of his text: the taking of the place of the other, writing a part for her, dressing up engaging in transvestism, in theory”.


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The Rhetorics and Irony in Alighieri’s Inferno and More’s Utopia 1

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

Irony is a conventional rhetorical device used by authors to convey to their readers an incongruity with the aim to relay humor or ridicule, or to depreciate an idea. Thomas More’s Utopia and Dante Alighieri’s Inferno present perfect examples where irony is used to influence an audience’s understanding of different themes. This technique can be found in numerous scenes within each text. For example, dialogues, sceneries, and titles portrayed in these works all contain irony. In both Utopia and Inferno, the authors use irony to try and reform individual thinking patterns in the reader. Despite the authors’ divergent views and specific authorial intent, this technique can be observed in each text.

Inferno illustrates Alighieri’s journey as he wanders from moral truth into hell. Alighieri claims that Santa Lucia and the Virgin Mary asked his deceased lover, Beatrice, to send him assistance. As a result of her intervention, Virgil surfaces and rescues Alighieri from hell and brings him to the mortal world where he had been previously. However, the descriptions Alighieri provide are quite ironic because they differ invariably from typical human conceptions of hell and the things that happen inside it. Alighieri employs the use of irony to challenge people’s understanding of hell, especially in Western civilization. The first instance of irony in the book is about hell itself. As indicated, people usually perceive hell as a chaotic and disarrayed place. However, Alighieri presents it as an organized, funnel-shaped cave at the center of earth’s bottom with a series of rotating sleds around the great circular depression (Alighieri 25). In many occasions, individuals perceive hell as consisting of distressed images with demons and people running around in turmoil with no sense of organization. Alighieri draws a different map of hell to illustrate a more unobstructed view of his conception (Alighieri 26). It manifests the application of irony to demonstrate a structured hell contrary to popular imagination.

Situational irony also manifests in the text, particularly when the Pilgrim displays emotions in Canto 8 towards Argenti. While moving through the circles of hell, Alighieri and Virgil discover that each sin attracts a distinct punishment. The people who always complained while alive are crouched in the mud where they spend eternity. Situational irony manifests in this instance since the punishment meted upon individuals in the afterlife depends on their choice of lifestyle on earth. Alighieri also feels a great empathy and even weeps whenever he meets anyone that had been damned to spend eternity in hell. The previous encounters prepare the reader to expect Alighieri to display feelings of terror towards Florentine on realizing that he would spend his entire afterlife in Styx. However, Alighieri responds to Argenti with rage. Besides, Alighieri weeps and loses consciousness in Canto 5 during his conversation with Francesca. The irony is that instead of pitying Argenti, he desires more pain upon him. Alighieri also commits irony punishable within hell; he sins within an unholy domain comprising of sinners. His hypocrisy retrospectively places him on the same pedestal as Argenti which is critical to the understanding of the entire book as it indicates the imperfection of the Pilgrim and the need for him to learn several things as he proceeds on his journey.

Likewise, Thomas More’s Utopia also applies a great deal of irony to depict the mystical lives and prosperity of the people within his epic. Utopia presents a different perspective from today’s accepted universal truths. The differences between each worldview manifests through the systems the people use to protect themselves against aggression, land rights systems, the economy, social relations, and marriages. There is a considerable difference within these areas between the perspectives of Western civilizations and More’s utopian world. The dissimilarities reveal the issues that Western society takes for granted. Through the use of irony, the author manages to demonstrate to the reader the positive and negative aspects of the West.

Unlike Western societies where nations utilize vast resources to protect themselves from external invasions, More’s utopian world has a different system for securing its borders. The people within the Utopia do not fight but hire machinery to fight on their behalf. This is a strange policy as historical information demonstrates that this is an ineffective strategy. Nevertheless, they cling to it on the belief that soldiers are only driven by the need for money. Thus, they can pay for their protection due to the extensive gold and silver deposits within their territory. Although this fictional practice tries to illustrate an ideal way of life, the reality is quite different as human soldiers are likely to fight harder than machinery to protect their home country.

It is evident that More’s conception of a utopian world purposely focuses on indirectly criticizing Western problems and their solutions. His discourse focuses on the opposite of the issues he criticizes. The character Raphael Hythloday discusses the history and the geography of the island. The discussion allows More to demonstrate the characteristics of a Western society that he finds quite problematic some of which include the tyranny of the ruling class, outdated systems of education, and corruption. More uses irony to contemplate the need to correct societal imbalances to adopt an ideal lifestyle. This strategy enables him to recommend reforms that would amend the imperfect socioeconomic and political systems and inculcate a communal lifestyle within his utopian world. Furthermore, an ironic rhetorical device enables More to present his ideal society in a manner that eliminates dissension through placing people within an institutional setup that encourages benign instincts while suppressing harmful ones. Thus, irony allows the author to create a calm felicity and pits the people within a perfect moral commonwealth against the tyranny and corrupt Western system that exploits them for the benefit of the ruling elites.

Different scholars have also explored the irony in Utopia. For example, one author mentions the humanist wit inculcated by More in the book and the style used to present his arguments (Bostaph 9). Surtz also observes More’s skillful and subtle application of irony at the end of the book when he illustrates that the communism of Utopia outperforms the nobility, majesty, magnificence, and honor of the Western civilization (Surtz as cited by Brake 183). However, Surtz maintains that these should not be the primary distinguishing features of the commonwealth hence the introduction of ironic criticism of the utopia at the book’s end.

The element of irony illustrates the misconception of utilizing Hythloday’s communist commonwealth as More’s ideal utopian society. As a preeminently self-made individual, more schooled himself in political philosophy and virtue, thus, enabling him to possess the art and science of ruling. His convictions facilitated within him the notion that political liberty depends on personal merit, and this could not be substituted by institutional arrangements. As a result, he believed that political leaders should pursue consultation, education, political free speech, and rhetoric for self-advancement. More also uses irony to test the character of people within his immediate surroundings (More 7). He considers literature as having a primary civilizing influence over law, which the state holds indispensable.

Utopia is a literary text concerned with critical economic and political issues in Western soceity. The book’s primary narrator, Raphael Hythloday, is liar, a behavior he manifests in several instances within the text. Hythloday believes that he is the only person possessing secret and absolute knowledge, although this is a fabrication that ignores critical realities that more had learned in his youthful days in preparation for civic leadership (Wegemer as cited by Bostaph 106).

Therefore, while Inferno and Utopia invariably differ in numerous aspects, the rhetorical device of irony helps the authors to advance their theories and facilitate different interpretations of the books. More uses the technique to criticize the corruption and tyranny of the ruling elites in Western societies with the intention of not only presenting amusing cases but also advancing a more precise and biting critique. Thus, the book purposely focuses on reforming peoples’ thought processes rather than reforming institutions. Similarly, irony causes the readers of Inferno to question their knowledge and beliefs about hell and morality. The analysis of irony within the two texts shows the power of this device to change people’s perspectives on different issues within society.


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The Irony of Socrates’ Prose ‘Apology’

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

In this narrative, I will attempt to explain the Apology, by Socrates. He proclaimed his innocence of charges that he had suborned the youth men Of Athens and he would attempt to plead his case in front of several Athenian Council members (Alan De Botton, The Consolations of Philosophy, (New York, Vintage Books, 2000),28-29. He believed that Philosophy should attain real results for the greater good of society. He also strived to institute an ethical system based on mortal reason rather than theological doctrine. He cross-examined himself, in front of those held with the task of convicting him, the reason he should aspire to follow his rule of philosophical inquiry if the dissatisfaction he earned has put his life in harm’s way. Socrates responds to his own question by stating that when achieving an activity, the only prudent inquiry to both oneself is if you are acting just or unjust (Socrates/Plato Powerpoint, pg 10). Considerations of life and death are selfish and unimportant next to considerations of justice. While his call to the esoteric life arouse from no ancillary strength than Apollo alone, Socrates should be less willing to leave his stake in hopes of the truth than a superior soldier would be to desert his stake in a fray. Socrates’ shrewdness comes from confessing that he does not know what he is unaware of, and he recognizes that one does not know what lies ahead of him in the hear after now that leads him not to dread it; Therefore, a panic of demise, is just another kind of incorrect perception, of affirming to know what you really don’t know.

Nonetheless, Socrates knows for sure that it would not be logical to be disobedient to the will of Apollo and stop theorizing, so he would be imprudent to do what he knows is not right for dread of a concealed quantity. Socrates goes in great detail to debate that if the court were to exonerate him solely on the state that he gave up philosophizing he would deny their offer, choosing to die rather than desert his allegiance to Apollo. What’s important to him is very clear; Wealth and honor are petty concerns in comparison to the quest for the veracity and the perfecting of one’s soul. Socrates sermonizes to the young men of Athens, and unless such speaking manipulates them, he is not guilty of the charges brought in opposition of him. Unlike most Athenian men, Socrates has largely stayed away from politics and public affairs, choosing to link with people on an independent level. He interprets that this conduct arises from a mystic sign, an inner voice which approaches him and diverts him; this, he proclaims, is the singular reason he has lived to be 70 years old. To demonstrate his point, he cites to 2 junctures which he contradicted the authorities in the name of justice; in both junctures, he virtually loss his life because of his bravery.

In his proclaimed Apology, charges were brought on by 3 citizens and Plato narrated the trial that materialized into the prosecution of his friend and mentor, Socrates. The description disclosed that values of Socrates’ accusers and his own greatly differed, and that the accusers were angered. Those dissimilarities produced conflict amongst the two parties that climaxed in his trial. With the comprehension that a jury condemned Socrates to death and his protection nevertheless satisfied him because he gave it honestly, it is most practical to call it a good defense because Socrates felt it was the best he could do at that time.

In the end, regarding adversity or condemnation, Socrates addresses the people of Athens and encourages them to follow the Socratic example and act like athletes who are in training for the Olympics. (Ibid, 33-34). He also makes a valid point when explaining what to do, to those who are in favor of plans to kill him, he explained that rather than listen to what everyone says about you, focus on what those individuals who are experts in justice and injustices have to say. (Ibid, 34-35). According to Socrates, virtue is knowledge which includes understanding why certain things are true, and why the substitutes are incorrect. (Ibid, 25.) Socrates professed that he started to visualize himself as a spokesperson of the oracle’s words. Alternatively, instead of professing to have a great deal of knowledge on certain issues, he chose to affirm his inexperience. In the end, he was able to maintain his integrity and be himself. Because he was found guilty, his punishment was to drink a poisonous substance that would eventually end his life. The foremost Socratic irony is that although people are rational when they divulge that they know nothing, Socrates believed that people honestly were illiterate.


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