Victim or Villain?

Throughout the novel, we see Lady Audley primarily as a villain. She seems as though she is always trying to manipulate someone or something in a very malicious way. For example, when George went missing in the beginning of the novel, she basically discounted Robert’s concerns and told them to get rid of him. Making everyone think that he was crazy and attempting to start a relationship with her, instead of really being able to investigate where his friend might have gone. Again, we see Lady Audley’s manipulation taking place when George sees her portrait during the thunderstorm. Lady Audley leads him to believe that she is just terrified of the storm, manipulating his beliefs, when in reality she is afraid of being caught. Lastly, we see Lady Audley displayed as a villain when she starts a fire at the Castle Inn. This shows that not only is she manipulative, but also very violent and destructive and will do anything to get rid of Robert and Luke because of the information that they have on her. She tried to manipulate the situation again in order to get her way.

 

Though through the majority of the novel Lady Audley is the villain, towards the end of the novel we see her more as a victim. At the end, she is taken to an institution because everyone sees her madness and acting irrational. This almost makes us feel for her because throughout the novel we were seen that she is crazy, so maybe this is her excuse as to why?

 

Overall, I believe that Lady Audley is really the villain more so than a victim. Even though she was mad and we might have some sort of sympathy for her, she was very manipulative in her actions and irrational in her decision making. She put others in harms way making it almost hard to even see her in the shoes of a victim.

What’s the secret?

Throughout the novel Lady Audley’s Secret, Braddon uses empirical evidence in multiple occasions. I think the biggest use of this however, is when we see George goes missing and Robert is trying to piece the clues back to where he may be or what might have happened.

 

One day when George and Robert are at Lady Audley’s house, George seems very intrigued by the “secret room” and portraits of Lady Audley. Almost so interested in it that it makes me wonder if something is behind the pictures or if they are of some value or if they maybe have something to even do with his wife? Robert and George were supposed to return to England the day that George went missing. He really didn’t think much about the disappearance at first because George had been very shaken by the death of his wife so he assumed that he might have just wanted some time alone. But as the days go on, Robert starts to realize that people’s stories aren’t really lining up and when he begins to investigate George is never where people who “saw” him said that he would be.

 

Braddon uses the empirical evidence to show us the logic that Robert is going through when figuring out these clues. We can tell that Robert is very skeptical of everyone’s stories because some of the visible evidence, such as the telegram, don’t really make sense. Why would George send a telegram to his son if he was with his son? It is all very interesting and this technique definitely makes me as the reader want to know what is going to happen and the other ways that Robert will discover more evidence about George’s disappearance.

Jealousy or loneliness?

I think that the most important part of the Monster’s story to convince Victor to have compassion for him is when the monster kills William. The monster never intended to hurt him, but the boy reveals himself to be William Frankenstein, and the monster was filled with anger because of his differences with his creator. I believe that this is the most important part of the monster’s story because this is when Victor is able to see how different the Monster feels from everyone. The Monster feels ugly and unloved and sees the way that Victor is with his brother and becomes jealous. Victor is able to see that the monster just wants someone to care for him and basically have a family the way that Victor has with his brother, William.

I believe that this part is also the most important part of the Monster’s story that effects the reader the most because we are able to have compassion for the Monster. Although this is a horrific event, we are able to feel for the monster and feel his loneliness. Everyone just wants to feel “normal” and accepted, have someone to care for them and have a friend, and the monster feels completely left out when he sees Victor with William.

What is the meaning behind these letters?

When reading the letters at the beginning of Frankenstein, its was very interesting how Shelly began having these told from the point of view of Walton. When reading the letters, I felt as though Shelly was really drawing us, as the readers, into the life of Walton. Almost making this more relatable in a sense.

 

Letters are a very personable thing, especially when Walton was writing to his sister, so its almost as Shelly did this to get us hooked. To want to not only know who Walton was or what his story is about; but also the strangers. Who is this man? Is Walton’s sister an important character in this book? Does she know the stranger? These letters keep me wanting to know more. I feel like I am invested into the lives of these men now through the strangers and I want to know their stories. I want to know if these two are going to stay friends or if something will happen to them.

 

Not only do these letters leave me wanting to know more, but they also draw out the emotional side of the book within the first few pages. In the second letter Walton begins to describe how lonely he is and how he feels completely isolated from everyone and his shipmates. So we start to feel for Walton and see him as a relatable character because there have been times where all of us have felt alone or isolated. Then in the forth letter, we see the relationship between Walton and the stranger starting to form making us happy to see that he isn’t alone or lonely and has found a companion, even if it is a complete stranger.

 

Overall I believe that Shelly started the novel off with Walton’s letter to create an interest in the readers. One that appeals to our emotional side and draws out our curiosity of not only all of the characters but as well as the novel in general.

True love or games?

Throughout Fantomina, “the lady” takes on multiple different roles to be a lover of Beauplaisir. I believe that she does this out of love and curiosity. She doesn’t need the power because her family has power, that’s why she started hiding who she really was in the beginning, so no one would be able to recognize her. She started out her game from pure curiosity, wanting to see what it was like to be a prostitute and have men flocking towards her. She was able to handle it for a while but was then taken with Beauplaisir. After a while when she was the persona of Fantomina, he grew tired of her and that’s when she realized she was in love. It was almost like he was playing a game with her at that point because he was just using her, so she wanted to see how far she could take the game into her own hands. She then plots various different characters until Beauplaisir gets tired of one and then she moves onto the next making sure that he is constantly in her life, yet still playing him. Though I do believe that at a certain point she had to be in love with him otherwise she wouldn’t have continued to go back to him, I believe that most of her plotting and pursuit was out of curiosity. Before she met Beauplaisir, she seemed almost as if she was very innocent. But her first move to act as a prostitute was out of pure curiosity and then everything seemed to almost spiral from there. As if she was so caught up in the games that she wondered how far she could take it, especially because he was never able to put it together. Like she was curious about how far she could take him until he noticed. I almost think that she convinced herself that she was in love with him because the curiosity of “will he like this new me?” was always there.

Goblins or Temptations?

I think that the strongest message in this poem is the one of dangers in this world and how one should be careful of temptations. Throughout the entire poem Lizzie remains pure. With this being said, she is actively pursuing temptation with intentions of conquering it. I feel like this is something that all of us are able to relate to as well. We know the differences between right/wrong, good/bad, but for some reason we always are drawn to various temptations-whatever those might be. Lizzie sees that Laura has completely given into this temptation and isn’t going to make it. Lizzie then decides to go to her and get her fruit as a desperate effort to save her sister. The goblins refuse to sell Lizzie the fruit and then proceed to “bully” her, but she does not give into their temptation. She remains pure. She remains good. As we see in line 430, “Lizzie uttered not a word”.

I feel like this directly correlates with the dangers in the world and so many temptations that we face. My mom always tells my siblings and me to be true to ourselves and look for the truth in others because people will show you who they are. I feel like this describes Lizzie. When her sister is “lost” in the temptations of the world, she remains true to herself. She shows us who she is and how strong she is no matter how great the temptation or the danger that she is faced with. It takes a strong person to stand tall against the Goblins in the world.

Is the only thing we do “work-work-work”?

Throughout the poem, “Song of the Shirt”, Hood uses a technique of repetition to really appeal to the reader’s emotions. During this entire poem we get the feeling that the woman is being oppressed and working a job tirelessly because this is just something that she must do in order to make something for herself.

In the beginning of the poem, Hood uses the repetition of “work-work-work” multiple times throughout the second stanza to show us that all the woman does is work. He even states that she sews “till over the buttons I fall asleep” making us feel as though she literally falls asleep doing her job. Later on in the sixth stanza, again we see the repetition of “work-work-work” as well as “ban, and gusset, and seam” when comparing her job to that of a prisoner. Almost as though she is a prisoner to her own work. That her life is a prison and she is trapped in the monotonous ways of life.  Finally, the very last stanza is the first stanza all over again. The woman is tired, worn out, hungry, dirty, and poverty stricken. This repetition of the entire stanza really appeals to our emotion and makes us feel to the woman and almost like we wish we could do something to help her. Why is she so stuck in this routine of life?

In a way I think this repetition actually helps us relate to the woman. Though we may not be able to completely understand the scenario that Hood is painting for us, at some time or another all of us have felt almost trapped in our own lives and the routine of our day to day lives. “Work-work-work” with no end in sight.

Is Swift actually negative or is he making light of a situation?

Throughout A Description of a City Shower, Swift uses satire in a negative tone that comes across as puzzling or confusing. The way the Swift speaks in the poem its almost as though we don’t know if he is really joking or serious but trying to make light of a negative situation. For example, in line 5 and 6 he talks about how “returning home at night, you’ll find the sink. Strike your offended sense with double stink.” When reading these lines, I feel as though he is making light of a difficult situation and attempting to be funny but almost in a dry sense of humor. It’s as thought he is trying to warn the people of a town what they are getting themselves into but once you know what you’re in for, you’ll be fine.

Later on he goes to talk about how “twas doubtful which was rain and which was dust.” Almost like the city is so dirty and foggy that no one knows if it is dust or rain but its just something that has been accepted. Like I mentioned before I like to think that the tone that Swift took with this poem is one in which he’s like “hey this is what is going on in our city but welcome.” Almost passive aggressive about the city- a love hate relationship.

Although Swift is very negative throughout the entire poem, a part of me wants to believe that he really is just poking fun of their city and trying to make light of the situation in which they are in instead of really being serious about what is going.

Who really has the “noble responsibility”?

There are many times throughout the poem, The White Man’s Burden, in which Kipling makes reference for American leaders to take “noble responsibility” towards the colonized people. I think the lines that really grab the attention of the reader, however, are lines 13-16. Kipling states that:

 

“By open speech and simple,

An hundred times made plain

To seek another’s profit,

And work another’s gain.”

 

Here he is basically saying that the white men are better than everyone else and superior in every aspect, so for others to understand, he may have to speak super slow and repeat himself a bunch because the natives most likely will not be able to understand him like another white man would. So it is the white men’s responsibility to almost dumb down every single conversation so that the natives may be able to understand what exactly is going on. In doing so, they will show their power over the natives because I mean the white men probably know more about what’s going on right? Because the white men know English everyone else should right?

 

Kipling implies that no matter what happens, the white men are going to have the upper hand in every situation and be able to gain something from every scenario because no other race is to the same standards of the white men. Its their responsibility to gain everything they can out of the natives and show that they are truly the ones in control.

How much power is too much power?

Throughout the entire play of The Tempest, Prospero uses his power through various manipulations over the other characters. For example, in Act 3 Scene 1 Miranda and Ferdinand begin to profess their love for each other. Prospero places the seed in Ferdinand’s mind to be taken with Miranda so that Prospero has access to the king because Ferdinand is heir to King of Nepals. Along with Miranda and Ferdinand, Prospero displays his power over Ariel throughout the entire play. Ariel is always one call away waiting to meet every need that Prospero may need. For example, in Act 4 Scene 1 after Prospero gives his blessing to Ferdinand and Miranda, he calls Ariel to “summon spirits” to preform their wedding. This is showing us that Ariel is the servant to every need that Prospero may want whether it is for him or not. Finally, Prospero uses his power over Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo throughout the entire play as well. In Act 3 Scene 2, Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo discuss the plan to get rid of Prospero. These three drunkenly come up with various ideas and plots to take him down. They believe that Prospero treats them unfairly and as slaves the entire time. It isn’t until Act 4 Scene 1 when we see a different side of Prospero. Ariel reminds Prospero of the three drunks’ plan to take him down and Prospero then shows Ariel more respect than he has showed before. He appreciates the fact that Ariel was loyal to him and had his best interest in mind. With this being said however, it makes me wonder if this is just an act again to have Ariel stay at Prospero’s beck and call or if he really is appreciative of Ariel. Towards the end of the play Prospero seems to “soften” a little but again, is this all just an act of manipulation? Or does he really seem to care?