The Blue Man: Expository Essay

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Two chocolate eyes look right through me, drowned by thick black eyebrows. One side of his face is thoughtful, the other concerned. I frown. Did I offend him? No, he must be thinking of something or somewhere else. Such a raw intensity hints at an untold narrative. For a moment I wish I could get one glimpse of his innermost thoughts, or just talk to him. Instead, I step away to examine the painting as a whole.

An orange boot at the bottom of the canvas instantly catches my eye. I slowly move my gaze along his cerulean jeans, his white shirt, and into his eyes again. How freeing it is to stare at one person so indefinitely! I can scrutinize all the specificities of his attitude, his expression. These smelt together to offer me a key to his psyche at the exact moment and thought it was captured in. When I see his open shirt and nonchalant stance, I am surprised to find darkness in his brooding expression instead of candid vibrancy.

It’s that frown… it draws attention to a certain bipolarity in his attitude. One arm rests on the chair, the other is tense; one eyebrow is furrowed, the other is still. He must suffer from some type of inner conflict. His nails are painfully short – a sign of care or anxiety? Both his jacket and his shirt are open, but his legs are crossed, his foot turned away from me, ready to walk out of the painting at any moment. A suggestion of movement in his figure. There is a certain raw brutality to the hair covering his head, his body, like a mask. A thick moustache right above his mouth prevents him from speaking. He is right before me and seems miles away.

The man has a cobalt silhouette, blue paint in the streaks of his hair and clothes. It leaves a ghostly impression; lingers long after you leave the gallery. The immediate and sketchy brushstrokes create a fleeting intensity. The limbs and the chair running out of the frame convey the feeling that the subject is only there temporarily, while also giving him room to move and escape. The essence of the subject is tinged with blue, a despondency exposed to us, no longer hidden behind hair or a jacket.

The chair he is sitting in is also cobalt. Deep, royal, it melts like an ice cube on my tongue, cooling the visceral heat of the painting. The chair’s stripes are prison bars, and the subject is trapped. Locked in the frame, in the idea of himself he tries to portray to the world. A constant battle against his melancholy nature, a societal obligation to display confidence and ease. Yet he blends into the chair, and once more he becomes evanescent. I hold my breath. He is still there.

I look to his hands, his face, and it is now clear they are the most polished part of the painting. It is as if the painter wanted to add more nuance to the focal points of human communication, adding layer upon layer of paint… Or perhaps so many beiges, browns and greens show an inner turmoil, all his emotions coming up to his skin like a blush. Uncertainty? Anger? Fear? None of these? We can only guess. All we know is that there is a life beyond the painting.

But what about the backdrop, so subtle I almost forgot to look at it? Yellow on the bottom half of the painting, and grey on top. The subject is obviously the principal focus of the piece, and a blue halo of sadness and life envelops him. It is as if the yellow opposes the grey in a simplified representation of the man’s interiority; the stark contrast of his nonchalance and brooding sadness. I look at the white plaque besides the painting: The Arab, Alice Neel, 1976.

Alice Neel stubbornly pursued a career as a figurative realist painter in the age of modernism. While she painted still-lives, landscapes, and genre scenes, her favorite subject-matter was people. Not receiving any acclaim until she was well into her seventies, she did not paint for any monetary gain; her art was democratic in nature. It was first and foremost a personal endeavor, and Neel described herself as a ‘collector of souls,’ using art as a way to better connect with the people around her. Her home itself was a gallery of unbought portraits. She painted in three principle phases: her earliest paintings were of the Left-wing artists and political activists in Greenwich Village, then the residents of the Spanish Harlem, and finally the New York artworld, marked by the social upheavals of the 60s and 70s.

Neel painted people because she found them interesting. Her main focus was bringing out their psychology in her portraits, much like Van Gogh in his painting of Dr. Gachet. A portrait by Alice Neel is a snapshot of her subject’s thoughts and interiority at a moment in time. Be it a family member, a celebrity, or a complete stranger in the New York Harlem, each portrait embodies a profound sense of intimacy, showing the subject through Neel’s eyes. She called herself a ‘psychiatrist,’ and looking at The Arab long enough, that’s exactly how I feel. Given the time to examine all the aspects of the painting, you begin to interpret the subject’s mannerisms in a way that you could not in real life, where staring at someone too long is a great offense. However, Neel’s emphasis on psychology is just a piece of a larger purpose, because according to her, ‘every person is a new universe unique with its own laws emphasizing some belief or phase of life immersed in time and rapidly passing by’ – her portraits serve as a reflection of a moment in time, be it historical, social, or political.

An awareness of being observed is clear in the expression and pose of The Arab. Sittings with Alice Neel often lasted over three hours, and boredom could not have been uncommon, visible here in The Arab’s distracted expression and careless arm swinging off the chair. His foot is turned away from us, peeking out of the frame, impatience to leave. Neel was not concerned with physical setting, but with the manner in which the figure occupied pictorial space. Digging deeper then, beyond weariness, and studying the subject’s body language, we can notice a contrast here between confidence and insecurity.

My first encounter with Alice Neel’s The Arab was laced with curiosity. How could a man be at once so open and so closed? By letting her subjects choose their own pose, Neel gave them room to live in her paintings. Thus, his psyche also shines through his bipolar stance: one arm relaxed, one brow furrowed, shirt open, legs closed. In a public context, these details would have gone unnoticed, but because of the nature of the painted portrait, I sat for over thirty minutes gradually getting past the wall of apparent confidence The Arab was projecting.

I then began to notice the cobalt blue lining his silhouette, in his hair and clothes, like a ghost of his inner melancholy. It was a conscious decision on the part of Alice Neel to show how this projected confidence was tinged with inner sadness. Judging by his clothing choices (fashionable boot-cut jeans and bomber jacket), The Arab was very much aware of his appearance. In a “boys don’t cry, man up!” world of hegemonic masculinity, where men were expected to interiorize their emotions, it is only natural to find these same behaviors in The Arab, a reflection of his time.

The most emphasized parts of the painting are his hands and feet, holding a proportional importance, where colors are layered in a mix of blue, green and beige. According to Neel, ‘the head contains most of the senses. You feel all over, but you hear, see, smell and taste with the head. You also think with the head. It’s the center of the universe, really….’ The head and hands are the nucleus of feeling and of human communication. We could also think of the tradition of caricature that recognized that the best way to show an emotion was by exaggerating facial expressions. In this sense, Alice Neel’s portraits are a sort of metaphor for the sitter’s character. The Arab’s is one of hidden vulnerability completely exposed to the viewer, which in turn creates an undeniable intimacy.

The lines in Neel’s painting are fleeting, sketch-like, a rushed psychological snapshot of the subject – who is in himself the echo of an era. She said herself at Moore College of Art in 1971, ‘people’s images reflect the era in a way that nothing else could.’ The 19th century German philosophical concept of Zeitgeist is relevant here, as it refers to an invisible agent or force dominating the characteristics of a given epoch, the ‘spirit of the age,’ if you will. This is exactly what each of Alice Neel’s portraits are, a little piece of an era, because to her, identity was inseparable from the public realms of occupation and class. What does The Arab tell us about America in the 1970s? Neel chose to paint minorities because to her, American culture could no longer be defined as white middle class, but could there be political implications here as well?

In our analysis of Alice Neel’s The Arab, it is key to recall the representation of Arabs in the second half of the twentieth century. Just three years prior to the execution of this painting, the heavily mediatized Yom Kippur War, or 1973 Arab-Israeli war, was fought for almost a month. During this time, and all throughout the twentieth century, Arabs were vilified and portrayed extremely negatively as the ‘enemy,’ in movies like A Son of the Sahara (1924), or even Aladdin (1992), that enforce cultural stereotypes of Arabs from black and white Hollywood movies; belly dancers, sabers, camels and all. However, the most relevant example of this must be John Frankenheimer’s Black Sunday, released just a year after The Arab was painted. In this motion picture narrating the determent of a terrorist attack by the group Black Sunday, Arabs are dehumanized and assimilated to Grinch who ‘stole Christmas’ as they try to wreak havoc on the Super Bowl, an American tradition.

It is in this socio-political context that Alice Neel created The Arab, fully aware of the connotations of titling the portrait this way. This marks an interesting paradox: while at first glance he is just another one of Neel’s sitters, the title of the painting defines him by his race; Neel wants us to be aware that he is Arab. The first effect this has is that it places The Arab on the same level as her other sitters – though Arabs are vilified in American media and seen as enemies, to Neel they are people, just like any other minority in America. He is victim to the same emotions, the same insecurities as the viewer, who finds himself face to face with a peer; we are on the same level. Because he is ultimately a painting on a canvas, I can stare at him as long as I want without offending anyone, and slowly the prejudices of society fade when I begin to look at body language, and realize he is uncomfortable, just as anyone would be if they were scrutinized for hours at a time.

However, we cannot force a political narrative on Alice Neel’s paintings. While she spoke openly about including African American and Hispanic minorities in her portrait gallery, she has never made any reference to Arabs. Perhaps it was just a missing piece to her pictorial anthology of Zeitgeist portraits, a minority she had no yet painted. Or it was simply a friend or acquaintance she found interesting who insisted she title the painting thus. Sadly, there are no records available on this often-overlooked painting that immediately caught my eye in the Cantor art collection of Stanford.

When looking into The Arab’s eyes, echoes of a conflicted soul, it is clear that intimacy is key in the effect of the painting. It serves two purposes, and the first is to create a relationship between the sitter and the viewer, where The Arab’s psyche gradually reveals itself to us. This is what makes the painting a metaphor of the subject’s character; without this connection with The Arab I would not have been compelled to look at him for as long as I did, or want to understand him thus. The second purpose is political – through this connection, we become open to the potential message Alice Neel wishes to convey. The Arab is an equal, and suddenly we find ourselves questioning Arab stereotypes in the media.

However, while intimacy is absolutely key in The Arab, it is perhaps not used with the same objectives or even used at all in Art. Often, it will serve themes such as love or identity, and even just in the genre of portraiture, intimacy could ruin the effect of majesty and command commissioned by a king. Thus, it is important to remain aware of intimacy in Art and what effect it has on us as individuals experiencing it. While it is not always necessary, it is interesting to consider its purpose in a certain context.

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The Narrator: the Actual Voice in Children’s Literature

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

The narrator, a voice that conveys a story is if not just important in children’s literature can be considered one of the most integral subjects which in many ways is at par with children themselves. Children’s literature is in itself a controversial genre of literature, much like some others where one is concerned with the intentions of the author; the one who writes, the reader; the one who reads, the narrator; the one whose voice is heard and the listener; the child or maybe another audience. Furthermore, it is also inevitably required to understand the texts of children’s literature— ‘…is children’s literature texts designed especially for children, or (ones that are) read only by them…’ to this question that Grenby raised in The Origins of Children’s Literature I would hope to include the presence of the narrator, the internal voice in the story (author) and the other narrator who is the external voice in the story (the actual narrator). When I just say the narrator, I mean the person who is reading out the story. Through this paper I will expand on— ‘the internal and the external narrator’s role in eliciting a response from the adults and also from the children in how they consume it.’ This will explore the understanding of the author, the narrator and the addressee in how they perceive the text as something that makes this genre of literature unique.

Wall explains in his book The Narrators Voice: The Dilemma of children’s Literature of Children’s Fiction as a children’s book is ‘not what is said, but the way it is said and to whom it is said’ (Wall 3) which is the biggest question of all, which is the target audience— children and in many cases young adults and even adults themselves. The relationship between the narrator and the child in the retelling of the story not only gives the reader more agency in how the narration takes place to shape not only the understanding of the text to the child but also delves into the meaning of the story for the adult who is most likely the narrator. Often times in children’s stories, there may be a dual narrator. The one in the text who tells the story of the characters- “Once upon a time there was a…” and the second narrator or the author who is the addressor gives the story and the written narrator a voice, the adult—parent, teacher etc. This narrator, an external being away from the story can be equated as a secondary author because of his or her ability in modifying the text to their capacity and in invoking prejudice to the characters and most importantly in their capability of vocalizing the text and manipulating it.

In a book that you read to others, it becomes that the retelling may have your own version of certain events. This is such that there is a cause for manipulation based on what the narrator may deem right. Authors when writing a book for children make sure to understand the duality of readership where her or she may not tell the whole truth which could be understood by the adult reader. When an adult is reading to the child, he or she has the full agency to give a character more depth or even less depth and give another character none at all. Although the essence of the story written by the author would not be subject to change, one can expect that there will be a certain lack or abundance of immersion that may or may not be intended by the author. The question that could arise at this juxtaposition is—do authors write children’s books knowing there is an adult or a narrator who understands the book in which case, does he intend to write to the child through the narrator?

In children’s literature, the written narrator or whom we can conveniently call the “author” has imbued the story within himself or herself such that they are a part of the story—as something of an external character that watches over the other characters. His or her job is reciting the story that is subsequently to be told. Although they are very much a part of the story they can tell us nothing about the story other than them being a subject that was present with only the ability to recite the events. His voice is in the hand of the external narrator who is the means of communication for the author of the story. He provides a framework or a skeleton by creating a design that is dependent on the retelling. The idea of the author can unconsciously shape the narrative of the story and the narrator or the reader can consciously shape the narrative of the story. What is the role of the author in children’s literature? Is he just one who is to give the story an idea or to give an idea a story?

Unfortunately, as we understand it, in children’s literature unlike adult literature, the role of the narrator triumphs the role of the author. As I have enunciated in the previous paragraph, the narrator has the ability to change the characters and the story. He has the ability to leave some parts of the story out and the ability to add more content to it as well. Is the child expected to understand what the author idea and inspiration may have been? Or even if the understanding of the author as a person. When a child says, “Daddy/ Mommy, tell me a story” and when the adult proceeds to read from a book—the adult is then being the narrator who is in control of the story and to the child, the parent or the adult is more or less the author to them. While the author writes his or her story from within the story, he or she doesn’t exactly expect the story to be intended for a particular section of the population and in this case, the children. Their intention, I would argue is to not provide the readership to just children but to expand the readership to adults as well or, as it has sometimes always been. This, though has many inlaid assumptions which would argue that children’s literature is almost patronizing in the way the story conveys the text as a lesson in most cases although, this form of writing or idea isn’t blatantly put out by the author themselves, the subtle shade of unconscious dwelling of this tone is provided, not only by the author but also by the narrator.

C.S Lewis and Roald Dahl authors of many well-known pieces of children’s literature have written stories that form an opinion between the narrator and the child as a reassuring figure who focuses on just children as their audience, with their often patronizing and almost superior tone. Dahl in Matilda often says, “I will”, “I might”, “I could”, “I insist” as a third person in the narrative which could insinuate the author trying to write down to the reader—be it the child or the narrator. Authors like J.M Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, on the other hand, wrote to multiple audiences through the same texts. He writes to children in a childish manner something like, “all the world is made of faith, trust, and pixie dust” and at often times, it would seem like he is narrating to an adult reader when he said something like, “And thus it will go on, so long as children are gay and innocent and heartless”—referring to the children as an external being, not something that would include themselves, adults. When Barrie, talks about the white men and the redskin who attacks in Peter Pan, explains with a sophistication about the ‘savage warfare’ (Barrie 149) that one cannot expect a child to comprehend. This is where the relationship between the narrator and the child can be brought out. The manipulation of the text by the narrator using the words of the author brings out the intimate and intricate relationship the child will possess to have with the reader.

The books, an instrument used by the narrator is a tool which he uses to invoke a moral conscience on the child. The author of a work of children’s literature is more likely to write a piece of work where the internal voice in the story can be easily relatable for the external narrator or reader. He or she would strive to create a relationship with the narrator to delve into the text more, for a better understanding, not only for the narrator but for the listener and child himself. Because an author can never understand if a child would understand a certain text and that is the where the narrator mediates. However, when a child has reached the point of being able to read the books on his own he will position himself or herself as the reader wherein he is able to formulate the text on his own. For the purpose of this paper, I have expressed the close connected relationships of the author, narrator and the child. It was most often always the narrator who could invoke any kind of empathy in both adults themselves and children. The narrator also observes the child’s views and then manipulates the text according to it. He or she may also express his or her own views while narrating the story such that it often becomes a part of the narration. The external voice of the story, through the narration, allows itself to look back and analyze the text from a more adult perspective and also helps him/her look into their own childhood through the child.

What I hoped to have brought out through this paper, is that an adult can never read as a child and his or her opinion on children’s literature should be considered irrelevant. The question that would need further exploration then is who decides what is relevant to a child? Is it not inevitable that the parent is the decider in what their child reads or what is read to them? The relationship of the author with the narrator and the audience also proves to be a questionable one. The author/writer who writes for the child has a more understanding relationship with the narrator rather than the child because of his or her dependence on the narrator or the adult in reading the book out to the child, in explaining the themes and the ideas expressed by the adult in a manner that would be understandable to the child. The relationship between the three relies simply on one’s dependence on the narrator—the author on the narrator and the child on the narrator. For it is his or her voice, the narrator’s insight into the text that gives it meaning which makes him the actual voice in children’s literature.

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A Personal Narrative on How I Lost My Spring Break

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

I sat on a silver Honda Civic, my friend in the driver’s seat. It was a gloomy Winter morning and we were travelling home to Markham from Waterloo, as we have just finished the Winter semester. The atmosphere in the car was wafted with grief and devastation. We were silent. It is a general belief that if you take an online course during your spring term, your summer holiday will be ruined. We both understood that we will not be enjoying our holiday. Yes, we took ENGL 109. I shivered from the fact that we both enrolled into spring term ENGL 109, and I shivered because I was aware I have made the worst choice in my entire life, but what else could I do. I tried to focus on the short holiday we had before the spring term begins, but it was futile. The flashing lights of the cars on the highway triggered another miserable memory, and this one was not fun as well. It was also the end of a Winter term, we have been studying for 1 year. It was only the start of our university life, things were too comfortable. So comfortable, we did not think before we pressed the enroll button on the University of Waterloo quest page. Weeks after the enrollment, there was a popup on our learning, and I blinked against the flashing lights of the cars and focused on the challenge ahead of us. After rechecking with my advisor, it was confirmed that we needed one more course in order to graduate. We did not talk, and I turned up the music player to change the mood.

The memory of me turning up the music player brought me back to my morning and Afroman rapping “Wait a minute, you know what’s fuxxed up”. I exhaled, and tear escaped from my eyes. I certainly did. I stared at the assignments due, downloaded the necessary files, pulled them onto my desktop, and started working without a thought about having fun, or enjoying the spring break until two months ago when I thought my university life was finally coming to an end. Months before my expected graduation, I planned a graduation trip with my friends. Since the email from the academic advisor, I have had trouble eliminating it from my memory. It haunts me everywhere I go. But I have had mornings like this one, trying to forget about an online course during the spring term, yet I turn up the music player, and there it is, my assignments and deadlines.

If only I could have had the choice a year ago, when I still had the chance to make a course override, but the academic advisor ignored my email, resulting in the lack of credits to graduate in my last year. The first class I tried to enroll was a CS course, I have taken so many CS courses, partly because of course requirements, partly because of interest, I was confident I could finish the course without going through any of the course materials, and possibly ace it too. But no, I realized that the course was full, there was no more space for my enrollment. There was also the famous AFM 200, which everyone would consider a bird course, more so when my friends could provide me all answers from previous years. Worst of all, AFM was also full. At that point I knew I was screwed, I searched for ENGL 109, stared at the screen. My friend also stared at the screen shaking his head, I shook my head, and pressed on the next button. “NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”, he said. “Yes……”, I said.

“Ring, ring”, I wondered why my mom called me so early in the morning. “Yes, I am on my way home.”, I said answering the phone. What was wrong, did my mom found out that I took a course for spring term? I had never been asked to go home and discuss things. “My mom just called me to get home as soon as possible.” Trying not to show my nervousness, the words came out unexpectedly fast. “Let me know what you mom has to say”, my friend said. “Sure” was all I could say before we went back into silent and misery. My mom was already home, waiting for me. “What have you done?”, my mom repeated several times before I could think of a reasonable explanation. “I had no choice.” I squeaked, “Sit down.”

Sitting down was just about unbearable. She had no expressions at all. “Did she actually find out what was going on?” No, impossible! Who would have told her? How did she find out that I took a course in the Spring term? Waiting with uncertainty was the most difficult thing to do. “Your brother told me you took ENGL 109 in the spring term.” I dropped my bag, there in the living room was the last word I expected to hear spoken. He betrayed me. “Why would you take a course in the spring term, did you forget what happened what happened 3 years ago?” She pointed out how I missed my first “normal” summer because of accidentally taking an online course. “The whole family will be going on vacation to Japan, but you will be staying here.” She said before leaving me alone in the living room. I knew it, I knew I was going to miss another family trip. I was also going to miss the graduation trip. What was I going to tell my friends? They needed me, I could not leave them, I was the person who planned everything. The time in my room was unbearable. ENGL 109, the words were repeating over and over in my mind. Skype was ringing, I turned on the video group call. My friends could tell by the look in my eyes something was bad. I said, “ENGL 109, I took ENGL 109.” I said in-between sobs. They invited me into the League of Legends flex game and told me it was going to be alright. I liked hearing those words even though I knew it was not true. That dreaded word ENGL 109 was so terrifying, we played a horrible flex game and lost. We have been told how ENGL 109 could destroy your spring term holiday, how it could destroy your life, but we had to find out what it actually meant.

Researching online is better than believing what the syllabus tells you. During the research, every sight that popped up revealed the same thing “A lot of work”. OneClass, Reddit, RateYourProfessors, all of them said the exact same thing. The course I was enrolled in was a nightmare. I turned the computer off and looked at the calendar with tears in my eyes, “I want my holiday back.” The coming two weeks was a roller coaster ride, one second I was up and the next second I was down. All my friends were waiting on the ground looking at me, telling me to keep my eyes open, the ride will be over soon, when all I wished was to keep my eyes closed until everything was over.

Monday, May 13, 2019 11:55 PM. I was panicking, I was nervous. The first deadline of the first assignment of ENGL 109. I have been sitting in front of the computer for 3 hours. Staring at the assignment, clueless, helpless. I cannot stand it anymore. I pressed on the keyboard, typed. Five minutes and it looked great, it was finally over. I finished the 140-character memoir.

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The Impact of Storytelling Practices on My Life

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

As a child, I found myself daydreaming constantly. I was enamored by imaginative. When I was six, I had a corrective surgery on my left eye. Postoperative orders would have been annoying for most adults and devastating for any six-year old – I was not to run, read, or watch TV for three months. With my head in the clouds, I decided to make the most of the situation. Being unable to play video games with my brothers or watch TV, but desiring many of the same fantasy adventures, I constructed worlds where I was a hero defending the earth from monsters, or a cartoon character with magic powers. Barred from regular playground activities at school, I slowly recruited other children into games that spiraled off from these worlds, becoming more elaborate and being rewritten daily as some classmates left and others joined, continuing well after I healed. I particularly enjoyed coming up with an exciting finale, and then finding ways to work backwards to link it to our current plot. Unrestrained by the notion that solutions must flow from problems, I came up with stories that had one ending but many paths, and sometimes these paths would abruptly change midway as someone dropped out.

When the time came, I chose the best one for that day, keeping my narrative intact. As I grew older, I applied this flexible approach to storytelling to real life scenarios; to get to the resolutions I wanted, I had to be willing to adjust how I approached problems in my life. While I could not control all variables – just like I could not control the actions of the players in my games – I could reorient situations in ways that gave me better access to the outcomes I wanted. This approach made situations that I found my peers struggling with much easier for me. While group projects could be frustrating to people conditioned to perform tasks in particular ways, I found myself able to adjust my own role in a way that fit what needed to be done. In addition, I was used to helping other people navigate their own roles in situations. Concepts I did not initially understand were approached from different angles until I understood them, and I spent a lot of time thinking, “How does this make sense in relation to my focus on my own narrative as made me goal-oriented and confident”.

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The Theme of Man Versus Nature in London’s the Call of the Wild

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

The Call of the Wild is about an older man who decides to travel alone after not listening to an old-timer’s advice. Saying this, the man travels in dangerous and freezing temperatures in the Yukon territory. The man also has a dog who is a husky and was hesitant about traveling in cold temperatures. Throughout his journey, he has many obstacles that he is faced with but does not overcome them. The man falls into the ice and knows he must warm his feet again or else he will freeze to death. In an attempt to build a fire, everything starts to go wrong and nature plays a huge role in it. The man dies due to nature and his pride. Then, the dog is left alone and heads to the camp for shelter. According to Story Board, in a Man vs. Nature theme they state that “Characters often face elements of Nature that are beyond their control” (Character vs. Nature). In the same way the man is facing weather he cannot control or stop. For these reasons, the major themes of pride and Man vs. Nature are recognized throughout the story. The setting, imagery, and symbolism used in the story support these two themes.

It is important to realize how the setting in the story supports the theme of Man vs. Nature. The setting takes place in the Yukon Territory in northwestern Canada. It is known to be a snowy world where the temperatures will drop below zero. Saying this, their nature and weather can be harsh and brutal. The cold wind and freezing temperatures are described, as well as repeated over and over throughout the story. For example, the narrator states that “Fifty degrees below zero meant 80 degrees of frost” (London 65) and they continue to describe what fifty degrees below would be like. To also understand how the Yukon territory was like, the narrator describes the sky with no sun or clouds. In addition to that, there was “indescribable darkness of things” and many feet of snow that was completely white (London 64). Through these examples, one can feel the cold air and see how dangerous it could be traveling the Yukon trail under these circumstances. However, this all had no effect on the man at all and he decided to continue his journey. Throughout his journey, his face, nose, and hands were completely numb showing the effects. The man also fell into the water and in order to not freeze to death, he had to make a fire. After he built the fire the tree had snow on top and it fell right on his fire, putting it out. It shows how nature was always one step ahead and how harsh it was. Saying this, the setting was dangerous and was always working against him. Showing how he struggles to overcome the difficulties nature brought in his way. It was his first and last winter due to his loss against the powerful nature and pride.

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Poe’s Usage of Diction and Word Choice for Portraying Narrator’s Insanity

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

In the short story “Tell-Tale Heart”, Edgar Allen Poe uses specific diction to subtly portray the narrator’s insanity, but also to characterize the narrator as a guilt-ridden person somewhat capable of differentiating right vs. wrong.

At the exposition of the story, the narrator describes the intent behind the murder by stating, “Object there was none. Passion there was none. …He had never wronged me… I think it was his eye!” Here, he uses “no”, “never”, and “none” to identify all of the usual motives for murder, and write them off, one by one. Although this story is written in past tense, the narrator is unable to identify the reason he decided to kill the old man, he is only able to recognize that it was something that relentlessly “haunted” him. His desperate attempt to find a reason (in this case, he finally decided on the eye) is his way of justifying the murder and attempting to lessen his guilt. This shows that he had no true motive to kill this man, but it was simply an uncontrollable desire, therefore hinting towards his insanity.

Towards the middle of the story, when the narrator is witnessing the old man’s cries of terror, he states, “I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it had welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its terrible echo, the terrors that distracted me…I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him”. The imagery in this sentence shows not only that the narrator is capable of remorse, but also that he feels sympathy and guilt before he has even committed the crime. However, it seems as though the urge is too strong to resist, which also provides the reader insight into the narrator’s mental state. The fact that he openly acknowledges that he would regularly break out into cries of fear in the dead of night also supports the idea that he is suffering from insanity. In addition, earlier in the passage, he states, “ Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own power”. It seems as though the narrator is committing this murder because this is one of the only ways he can overpower the object of his terror, something he has never before been able to gain control of. This shows that the narrator’s mental state and well-being were compromised long before he decided to kill the man. In this case, the murder was simply an attempt to regain control of his mind, thus proving his insanity.

At the end of the story, the narrator is conversing with the police officers when he begins to hear the beating of the old man’s dead heart, and eventually becomes so paranoid that he confesses his crime by stating, “‘I admit the deed! — tear up the planks! Here, here! — It is the beating of his hideous heart!’”. We, as readers, know that it is difficult to hear the beat of a heart when a person is alive, but it is impossible to hear a heart beat once it has stopped entirely. However, the narrator is adamant that the sound is there and growing louder each second. This not only displays his insanity, but also exposes his immense guilt. This sound is haunting him relentlessly, serving as a constant reminder of the crime he has committed. Despite his attempts to justify his actions, eventually, his conscious overpowers his mind and he admits his wrongdoings.

Throughout this intricately written short story, Edgar Allen Poe uses careful word choice to convey the insanity and guilt that the narrator exhibits. Through his usage of language, he is able to portray the mental instability of his character as well as humanize him by showing his ability to feel remorse.

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Narrator’s Emotional Conflict in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

The title is important because it references the yellow wallpaper the lady is trapped inside at the end of the story. The wallpaper could have been any other color; however, the color yellow fits best because it is bright and cheerful. It is ironic how the color of the wallpaper is so happy and optimistic while the lady trapped inside the wallpaper is in despair. Personally, I do not like the color yellow. It is too bright and too loud. I prefer subtler colors. The wallpaper changes from something ordinary to something suffocating. The narrator feels like she is enclosed by this wallpaper. It is representative of the domestic sphere because the domestic sphere is most often closed off from the rest of the world. What happens in the house stays in the house. This is prevalent in cases of domestic abuse and domestic violence, where neighbors are completely unaware of the abuse that is going on. The victim usually doesn’t let anybody know about their pain and suffering. The narrator says “what can one do?” as a sign of giving up hope. She has fallen too deep into her depression and doesn’t think that there is a way out. It ends with her losing her mind and tearing apart the wallpaper that the woman is trapped in, not realizing that it is just her imagination. Her loneliness manifests itself as a sort of vision of a woman trapped inside the wallpaper.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” deals with emotional conflict as the narrator feels her husband looks down upon her. She can’t do anything except blindly trust her husband even though he completely ignores her concerns. He’s the doctor and thinks he knows best. The conflict is never resolved; it only escalates. The characters seem very real to me because this is a very realistic scenario. I can definitely see how being trapped in one’s household can lead to such feelings of hopelessness, and in the extreme case, a psychotic breakdown. One of the main themes of the story is loneliness, because the main character feels very lonely in her own house. Even when she is with her husband, she feels lonely. I did expect a longer, more drawn-out narrative because the story seemed to be moving slowly. I thought there would be more to it. The central purpose behind the story is to show people how lonely and painful depression can feel. It is also important to take the concerns of others seriously, and not to dismiss them because of any perceived “experience.” This purpose is very important and meaningful because it can be applied in our daily lives to people all around us. People like our friends and family could be hurting and we may not even know about it. So it is important to always check on how our loved ones are feeling. The role of women in the text seems to be to “stay happy” and focus on their family or children. They are supposed to stay home while the husband goes off to work and take care of the household. Historically this has always been true, as women were not even allowed to work until much later. There was a “sphere of domesticity” where the entire lives of women remained inside the household. There is an even greater pressure and stigma placed on single mothers in today’s society because not only are they judged for raising a child alone, but they are expected to do it flawlessly. The narrator grows more restless when her husband isn’t around, and I think her relationship with him deteriorates because he treats her in a belittling way.

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Bartleby, Living and Dead

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Bartelby, living and dead Herman Melville’s story “Bartelby the scrivener” is narrating about an uncanny character named Bartelby, a copyist who has been hired to work in law office. Due his impressive work he was Considered to be useful for the manager. But later on his sense of giving upon living has constructed a problem for the narrator, as well for other employees too. Along with time he loses interest in work and started to disobey his master. On asking to complete a task Bartelby refuses it by saying “I would prefer not to” an annoying phrase commonly used by him for disobedience.

His purpose less life characterise him as nothing less than a cadaver. Bartelby’s action reveal his life less appearance as he live the life of stillness, after being fired by narrator when he still asked for another opportunity to make next move to improve his life to work as a scrivener for someone else, he answered that “I would prefer not to make any changes”. At this point the theme of his existence between human and inhuman, living and dead come from his inability to move forward in life, even after being offered with money and food but still his answer was the same heading ‘no preference’.

What the reason one could have to live with no purpose in life ?. Bartelby has been surrounded by death since he appeared in narrator’s life. Besides showing life from his actions, death surround Bartelby from the moment he appeared in narrator’s life, his weak pale appearance make an un-dead quality about him even after he is alive. Some ghostly reference was used for Bartleby’s figure, even narrator first words when Bartleby showed was “a motionless young man stood up one morning” (pg. 10, pdf version). Nextaly, his placidness is described while Bartleby used to continuously look out from a window at dead wall. So, many time this dead letter employee who rejected life and even is so non participatory that, may be assumed dead before he actually is.

Bartleby the Scrivener is a tale of uncanny spirit. At page no. 13 first time lawyer seem to be angry at the Bartleby due to persistent refusals, here at this point lawyer had a feeling of uncanniness. The narrator’s description of the character of scrivener can leave effect of un-canniness, readers can be uncertain if the particular figure is human being or cybernation. Many times he is descripted as a machine, his wording “there was no pause for digestion” and “He wrote on silently, palely and mechanically”. In the story, this particular figure can be pointed out to be described the way being uncanny.

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Imagery and Symbolism in the Novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Hears My Cry has its setting in rural areas of Mississippi. We are not told of the city where Cassie and her family stay, but we are aware of the dominant red color in the dust, dirt, and mud that the Logan children get on them as they go to school. The book’s narration takes place in 1933, the worst record of the great depression (Bosmajian, 1996). Probably explains the poverty in most characters and the plight of the blacks during this period.

Nevertheless, the depression is not the only cause of poverty for these people. The characters were subjects of open racism and inequality, mostly in the south. The black characters were kept economically low because of sharecropping. Berry’s and Turners had no hope for redemption from poverty. The system was unfair such that they paid rent for the land they planted and still would forfeit a percentage on the profits they made. Compared, the Logan’s are just a little bit better. They own their land and exercise control at a certain level. This is still not in any way fulfilling as Mr. Granger is plotting to take their property away from them. But then, the blacks were rising; for instance, Mama was a trained teacher, and Hammer could afford a car from his excellent job in Chicago. This angered the whites who sought after any blacks who tried to rise above their expected situation. Racism is revealed through the narration. The author states “racist society he had grown up in.” This shows that the level of racism had significantly increased.

The narration by a nine-year-old Cassie is limiting to a certain extent. Thankfully, Cassie is curious. She builds the plot with information by eavesdropping, listening to gossip and lectures from Mama, Papa and Uncle Hammer. For instance, she got information about Berry’s attack on the church from her eavesdropping. The author chose a child to take us through the narration so that we appreciate the child’s innocence in such a hostile environment and we may learn along with Cassie. For example where Cassie is shouted at,” Cassie! Sit down and be quiet”, this show her perseverance despite living in a harsh environment.

The book creates fictional characters in a real-life setting of a previous period hence a conclusion that the genre is historical fiction. In as much as Taylor was inspired by the experience of her father & grandfather, Cassie and her family are entirely fictional in a geographic location that still exists today at a past period. The oppression of the blacks in the 1930’s is real hence an accurate social, cultural context of the said time. With the narration by Cassie, Taylor can address several childhood dilemmas like trying to understand adults and why they do not involve children in some situations (Barker, 2010). We see a transitional narration. Readers can only relate with Cassie at nine years and not as a teenager or as an adult the children are required to obey their elder one, for example,” Do quick, Cassie, as I say.” She is required to follow the commands given by Mr. Mor. She learns to navigate through some severe challenges in life at a tender age like racism battles which she does not fully comprehend at this time.

The author takes a very severe and moderate approach in her narration. She has not exaggerated her message or overemphasized on the black’s oppression. She lets us in on the events and lets us decide for ourselves. She gently navigates the reader through brutal discrimination scenes and makes the interactions build up in our imagination. For instance, Big Ma forces an apology from Cassie to Ms. Lilian Jean in a humiliating way. Nonetheless, the author did not make our journey all sad in misery as we read about some pretty heart melting moments like the joy in Logan’s Christmas celebrations.

The writer takes a simple approach in her conversations in the book. The plan is real-life relatable hence the text is easy to read and heightens the pace of the book. Notwithstanding, she has also used complex descriptions in her writing that bring out her literary touches like her description of Mama.

The book’s title describes how the Logan family and Mr. Morrison are rising to the plight of the blacks that is slowly becoming a crisis. In fact, there existed negro-spiritual songs to encourage the slaves in captivity which the writer has brought it out beautifully as an epigraph. Over time, the songs became more rebellious to the whites oppression like the one in the book the blacks refuse to continue being submissive. In the end, the writer, through Cassie has been able to show the pain, anguish, and wastefulness of the land and the people. T.J had been taken to jail and would be probably hanged for killing Mr. Barnett, and the Simms brothers would be off free. Papa also sets out the fire on the cotton field in a desperate attempt to save T.J, but it is futile. Hence the writer’s last words that she weeps for T.J and the land. The black were mainly used as slaves on the farm since they are said to be bringing a lot of money,” breeding slaves brought a lot of money for them slaves owners.” The land is also punished since a right section of the crop was ruined which brings out the authors view that the people and the nation are connected.

Taylor has been able to give us a mix of a thrilling paced experience through her use of suspense, conflict and a great conclusion. In the beginning, she brings out exposition in the conflict zone of Mississippi. The racial tensions were so oppressive that some men were literary set on fire after allegedly talking to a white woman. But before the author brings us the full conflict we go through several narrations of enraging oppression like white kids going to school by bus and the black ones on foot (McDowell, 2002). We can see the solidarity of the community from the boycott of the Wallace store organized by Mama. The population rose against the action of the store in selling alcohol to minors and murderous raids. This boycott escalates to a conflict between the white and black communities and amongst the blacks themselves.

We then go through a series of T.J’s poor decision making when he leaks the information of the people behind the boycott leading to the shooting of Papa Logan. This also puts Mr. Morrison’s life in danger when two white men attack him over the same issue. The climax of the story is when the Simms brothers trick T.J into robbing Barnett’s pearl gun. Unlike the plan, the Simms brothers rough up the store owners and also beat up T.J after he threatened an expose on what transpired making a tragic ending. The violence is now known by entirely some people and the Wallace’s together with the Simms move to hang T.J, and a fire breaks out. The fire was started by Papa to save T.J but a non-rewarding attempt as he is taken away to strawberry to await his fate, where he is highly likely to be hanged and the Logan land lost.

Apart from a fantastic plot the writer has been able to incorporate imagery especially in the weather especially with the title ‘Thunder’ and brings out several other meteorological events such as lightning (Rasinski, 1990). The author depicts a situation where the black children walk to school in the rain as the white children bus splashes murky waters on them. This emphasizes on the inequality of their educational facilities, “Stacey snapped as the dust billowed in swirling clouds around my feet.” Mr. Morrison’s voice is also described as low thunder to signify the violence he will do in later chapters.

She used cars to symbolize power and terror. It was depicted as something to look up to by Big Ma and terrifying since the night men did not come in horses but roaring cars. Also, it was a status symbol as it showed Mr. Granger’s Opulence. The fig tree’s enduring nature depicts the Logan Family relationship with their land that it will tenaciously keep bearing fruit despite the hardships. Finally, the school bus is described as a “big yellow fire-breathing dragon”. It appears like a real living breathing creature that subjects other animals to torture. The author personifies the bus again after a sabotage plan lands the front wheel in a ditch. She likens it to ‘a lopsided billy goat on its knees’. The bus is compared to a beast due to the emotional oppression it put the black kids through, and a little revenge is gained when the white kids too have to walk miles in their shoes to school.

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The Age of Awakening

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Revelations, hardships, worldly experiences and a difficult search for one’s identity. Such are the conventions of the coming-of-age genre. Which aims to focus on the psychological and moral growth of a novel’s protagonist from youth through to adulthood. By analyzing Call me by your name (André Aciman) and Oranges are not the only fruit (Jeanette Winterson) the themes of relationships, religion, identity, sexual expression and sexual orientation the elements of the Coming-of-age genre will be examined.

The first person narrative technique of Oranges are not the only fruit allows for readers to assess the inner workings of Jeanette, the protagonist’s mind, her experiences, her opinions and track her growth as she is explored in greater detail than any other character. In this novel other characters act to support the main character and enrich her journey. However Oranges are the only fruit makes use of the second and third person narrative. Jeanette often understands conflict in her life through her often comical retelling or referencing fables, biblical tales and fictional stories (ie Jane Eyre). She does so in the third person. Jeanette uses the second person to address the readers a number of times. Thus the structure of the novel moves mostly chronologically but with scattered flashbacks and fictional stories throughout. As opposed to Call me by your name which strictly uses the first person narrative technique as Elio, the protagonist sequentially recalls the events of the summer of 1987. Both novels make use of this narrative technique as the main form of narration. This technique effectively guides the reader along the characters respective journeys of self discovery and creates a sincere relationship between the speaker and the reader. Thus proving to be a very beneficial tool in connecting readers to characters in the coming-of-age genre.

Jeanette as a character As previously stipulated, the supporting characters in Oranges are not the only fruit are rather flat. Although they do play major roles in Jeanette’s formative years and her overall attitude to life they are not as fully delved into. Jeanette’s mother is a religious fanatic and acts as the constant reenforer of Christianity in Jeanette’s life. Which was a considerably large part of Jeanette’s life and constituted many of her opinions, mannerisms and actions in her youth. An example of her putting the Lord before anything would be when Jeanette said, “I love you almost as much as I love the Lord.” to Melanie. Other characters like her apathetic father who isn’t present for much of the novel and Melanie, her first (lesbian) lover are shown to not love Jeanette as much as she loves them. Such experiences encourage Jeanette to journey further on her quest of self appreciation and acceptance.

The same cannot be said about the characterization in Call me by your name. Understandably Elio Perlman is the most established of all the characters. He comes across as a very cultured and inquisitive teenage boy. As Elio becomes increasingly infatuated with Oliver an older more mature character readers simultaneously get a look at his repressed intimate nature. Which Oliver prompts him explore throughout the novel through their relationship. Elio is blossoming with desire and passion: “Do with me what you want. Just ask if I want and see the answer you’ll get, Just don’t let me say no” and insecure “I tried imitating him a few times but i was too self-conscious. Like someone trying to feel natural while walking about naked in a locker room only to end up aroused by his own nakedness” [Part 1], when it comes to accepting his feelings for Oliver, his first male love-interest. He is very timid “Why wouldn’t I show him how like butter I was? Because I was afraid of what might happen then? Or was I afraid he’d laugh at me? Told everyone or ignored the whole thing on the pretense that I was too young to know what I was doing” [Part 1]. Elio also proves to be very impressionable: “The summer I learned to love fishing. Because he did. To love jogging. Because he did. To love octopus, Heraclitus, Tristan.” Inquisitivity and insecurity are common attributes of these the main characters and are often explored in coming-of-age stories.

Along with those common personality traits there are common themes which are used to explore the genre of coming-of-age. In both novels the themes of sexuality (orientation and expression), religion (how it shapes people’s lives and opinions) and family (how family supports or doesn’t support the main characters growth). Religion is used in both novels to push the protagonists closer in the direction of their true selves. In Oranges are not the only fruit Jeanette tackles the notion that hetrosexualilty is a must in the Christian faith. As a young girl brought up in a Northern English church in the 1960’s the church and all its conformities were all she knew and she was shielded from ‘unnatural behaviours’ which were never explicitly spoken of but were constantly alluded to. Conservative Christian views of sexuality in this novel demonstrated by Jeanette’s mother and Pastor pressure Jeanette to find herself and become independent of her family and show how isolated Jeanette is from society as a lesbian such views are exhibited when Jeanette’s mother says “The Devil looks after his own”, in the moment Jeanette is cast out of her home. However in Call me by your name Elio never feels the pressure to be hetrosexual because of his Jewish beliefs. However he does feel isolated from society as a Jew in 1987 Bordighera, Liguria (Italy) but s both Oliver and Elio subscribe to Judaism the religion serves to bond the two rather than divide as it does in Oranges are not the only fruit. Unlike Jeanette all of Elio’s desires are explicitly made known to readers and it apparent that Elio has more freedom to express his sexual fascinations without judgment from religion or family. Which can be credited to the novels descriptive and confessional style.

Each of the novels makes use of fruit to symbolize the emotional state of the protagonist. In Call me by your name Elio pleasures himself with a peach and Oliver devours it after he catches Elio in the act. The peach then comes to symbolize the height of intimacy between the two of them and open themselves up to loving each other, “I simply let myself go, if only to show him something equally private about me as well. I reached for him and muffled my sobs against his shoulder.” The sexual act of one person becomes the moment in which two people are the closest to one another. This symbol appears only once in the novel as opposed to the use of the orange in Oranges are not the only fruit which appears throughout the novel. Oranges represent the lack of emotional support Jeanette recieves particularly from her mother and they act as her comfort. An example of such a situation: “My mother looked horrified and rooting around in her handbag she gave me an orange. I peeled it to comfort myself, and seeing me a little calmer, everyone glanced at one another and went away” [pg 36]. Her mother offers her oranges in time where her emotional support would be better suited as depicted when Jeanette is temporarily deaf in hospital.

“When she couldn’t come herself she sent my father,

usually with a letter and a couple of oranges.

“The only fruit,” she always said”

The authors of these two novels explore the genre of Coming-of-age using the above literary elements very effectively. The first person narrative and chronological capture the finer details of the main characters psychological and emotional growth. The protagonists are complex and although they are very different they share many qualities that are common to characters of the coming-of-age genre. The authors utilize settings to shape the characters opinions. The two novels illustrate the respective journeys and experiences two young people face that are pivotal for their overall self-development.

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