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- Mar 18 Tue 2008 12:07
- Jan 11 Fri 2008 11:50
Remption of the Tulliver Family in “The Mill on the Floss”
In “Mill on the Floss”, George Eliot creates a central family with the heroine, Maggie Tulliver, in both domestic and social framework. This is a story about a Victorian middle-classed family searching their identity and way to happiness. With Eliot’s descriptions, readers can see how the Tullivers struggle in Capitalism society, facing their problems, and being redeemed by the narrator’s arrangement in the ending. To explain the family situation, we will start with its four members. It has four middle-classed family members, formed by father, mother, a son and a daughter.
The Tulliver Family as Victims of Capitalism and Patriarchy
Mr. Tulliver, the head of the family, lives by the mill on the Floss river with his family. As a father, he is soft with his wife and daughter. He is a nice person, not rich, but wants to be so. His expectation for the young generation, Tom and Maggie, is to help them gain better social position in both fame and financial status. However, Mr. Tulliver's financial downfall ruins the dream and causes his illness. This frustration also influences the rest of the family. To Mr. Tulliver and his son, the defeat of law case with Mr. Wakem becomes a reason of hatred, even if the bankruptcy also has something to do with the result of Mr. Tulliver’s own single- mindedness, rashness and pride.
Just as the other main characters of The Mill on the Floss, Mr. Tulliver seems to be a victim of his own value and the circumstances of Capitalism society. Although Tulliver is somewhat more intelligent than his wife, yet he is still puzzled by malicious economic world, as well as the complexities of language, manners and values, and Mr. Tulliver is so overwhelmed by the changing world around him, that explains why ‘the world is too many’ for him.
Part of the novel will concentrate on the diminishment of traditional provincial life when facing newly materialistic, entrepreneurial forces. For example, as Mr. Tulliver must go outside his family structure to borrow five hundred pounds from a client of Lawyer Wakem's, he is actually defeated and be used by those ‘gentlemen’ who knows how to make a living in materialistic capitalism.
Tom is the Tullivers' older son. Like his father, Tome grows up as a decent man who has his own clear values of duty, justice, and fairness. These standards affect him in action rather than in emotion. Tom, in some way, is sometimes too narrow-minded, rational. Unlike his impetuous, romantic sister, he has a strong, self-righteous sense of "fairness" and "justice" which often figures into his decisions and relationships more than tenderness or emotion. This characteristic becomes one of the reasons that he often argues with Maggie about her relationship with Phillip Wakem.
- Aug 29 Wed 2007 11:46
- Jan 26 Fri 2007 18:35
Journal of the Second Week, March 17th
Chief Seattle’s speech and the whole series of Indian poetry are famous while we discuss the conception toward nature between aborigines and city people. Therefore, when speaking of the incapability of accommodation to ‘civil life’ as being in the city, Indians’ idea may be a little strange to us. But as I think it over, the reason they dislike the city is because they can not find family there. Nature seems to them a big family, and Indians are living in it, be a part of it. They don’t afraid of the darkness in plain, in forest and valley when they have no lamps. Instead, the city’s brightness make the m blind as the noisy hustle deafen their ears. They believe human beings are born to live as a sensitive part of nature’s world. They think they are trivial because they have so many family members to respect and love.
It occurs to me that there are some sentences in Wordsworth’s poem ‘Ode: Intimations of Immortality’. Following are the sentences which respond to Indian thinkings: “Thanks to the human heart by which we live/Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears/ To me the meanest flower that blows can give/ Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.” Through out the poem, the poet believe that human is born to be in nature, so God has given us a vision to see ‘celestial light’ which is also in nature. However, humans always forget their first birthday present and seek for other unimportant ones. In order to adjust this kind of attitude that takes nature for granted, the poet brings out the idea of finding ‘human heart’ back again. The ‘human heart’ here presents a humble attitude to live in nature and the most proper mind to live with nature is philosophic because it seems hard for us to have the initial visionary and appreciate nature sincerely. The poet then uses three words to describe and make restrictions of the ‘human heart’—‘tenderness’, ‘joy’ and ‘fear.’ The last word is the most significant because human beings usually think themselves as the over soul among all creature instead of knowing they should be humble to all nature beings. I reckon Wordsworth and believe that people like Chief Seattle hold all conditions named by the poet. His heart is full of fear because he knows he is merely a member of this immense family. His heart knows what tenderness is because he cares both his tribe and the white men’s, in the name of brotherly love. He enjoys his ancestors’ and the nature’s immortal company in joy, too. I think all these are what we should learn and keep reflecting ourselves on, as human beings.
- Jan 26 Fri 2007 18:25
Journal of the Fourth Week, April 14th : A Ride Beneath Celestial Light
One morning in a summer vacation years ago, when I was in my junior high and my brother in elementary school, my mom took us back to grandma’s house at Junan Town in Miao-Li County . Children at the age often feel frustrated when they have to throw away all the benefit and entertainment of the city. If fact we felt even more frustrated when we heard that grandma’s television was broken. What could we do in that shabby, boring house and still be happy? However now I memorize that vacation happy because we found the way to enjoy life without network and television. Most of the time we read, and we went now the rest of a day. Junan Town was a simple, small place even till now, but it has many beautiful natural surrounding. Most of me and my brother’s childhood memory to the sea came from that vacation because mom sometimes took us there. It was a entrance called ‘Hai-ko’(‘mouth of the ocean’), not far from grandma’s house. There was a grey, plain beach which we didn’t think it beautiful at all; however, we enjoy its savage silence there.
One morning before dawn, about four am, my brother and I woke up and couldn’t feel asleep again because we went up to bed too early last night. After a short discussion, we decided to slink out the house without waking the adult. Beneath the window, the two of us dressed up quickly in grey light outside. The moment we successfully got out we look at the grey-blue sky before dawn in the first time of ecstasy; we were also excited because we were doing something adults didn’t know. We made our mind to go to the sea and got on our bikes. The road and its surrounding were kind of dark and we didn’t quite sure about our directions. However, we all rode fast in the empty, wide roads and lanes of the town. Suddenly we met the end of residential district and there’s a dark- green forest before us. That proved our direction right. We were urban kids, the forest in night seemed kind of scary and ghastly, but later we decided to ride though it as far as possible. When we stopped in front of the forest, we could already see how yellow and milk-white light spread and scattered the bottom of the night sky in distance. The boundary of sky and sea was becoming clearer brightness in amazing speed. Then we rode in the gloomy forest in full speed. As I remembered, the trees were almost black and the fallen celestial light was not vivid because it was almost covered with all kinds of leafs and trunks. We merely saw a glamorous, ghostly white passing us as fast as we rode in high speed. It was strange that we had forgotten our fear to the forest at that moment; in fact we later felt the speeding joy in company with us. And it seems like the surrounding, the atmosphere of the forest changed with our mood. Soon the black trees became pretty green and started to shine at us.
Then we rode out of the forest and almost drove ourselves into a new, immense gold brightness. The beach is right before us, upon it there was a flow of dazzling orange which turned fancy blue. Even the somberness of night clouds faded out in the color of flawless whiteness. Sitting at our bike, we rode along the beach and waited there till the sublime, shiny sky completely became sunny blue. In silence, I remember me and my brother smiled at each other for we had shared the amazement of nature together. It has been years after our splendid experience. I wonder if kids in the country side all know the ecstasy of beauty and are willing to expose themselves into daily contact with nature. If so, they are so fortunate. I hope me and my brother can get up early next time we decide to drop all the urban entertainment to grandma’s house, so that we can have another splendid rode under the celestial light of dawn once again.
- Jan 26 Fri 2007 18:17
Love and Violence: Euripides’ “Medea”
By reading Knox’s paper about Euripides’ “Medea”, most students take the positive side of Medea’s characteristics as their second impression, so do I. So recently I have been searched for paper that emphasizes Medea’s negative characteristics, in order to read the play from other point of view, however, many criticsI found are confusing, especially when the critics mention too much about Western culture and literary tradition that is too abstract and unfamiliar.
However, in Artisitide Tessitore’s “Euripides’ ‘Medea’ and the Problem of Spiritedness” (The Review of Politics, Vol. 53 No.4, p.587-601), he interprets the character Medea’s from different aspects by using the word ‘spiritedness’, bringing out both heroic and brutal interpretation of Medea. Tessitore also tries referring Euripides’ will, on the aspect of ‘how’ he finishes the play. Although the critic doesn’t make out best in its ending, the author directly confronts with Knox and their critics that define Medea’s heroic character as single viewpoint while emphasizing the ‘positive’ side of Medea. Actually, I also agree with the critics that point out Medea’s brutality (including Tessitore’s), however, instead of taking the character’s brutality as a negative characteristic, I see it as the true side of the play. After all, the ambivalence of Medea does not make any part of the drama minus, as a whole, it even makes the drama more outstanding. Life itself, I think, is full of ambivalence indeed.
Before jumping into conclusion, I would like to briefly introduce Tessitore’s idea about “Medea”. In “Euripides’ ‘Medea’ and the Problem of Spiritedness”, Tessitore mentions a lot about Euripides’ way and writing, he also speculates much on the Euripides’ intention though out the play. Tessitore’s statement is thrilling and adventurous to me because other critics often merely focus their study on text and characters, rather on conjecture the author’s method and intention. That kind of speculation usually limits reader’s imagination by giving too much answer. These experiences also tell me that I should read over that play myself and try writing something with some basic the arrangement before reading paper from those famous critics.
However, Tessitore’s paper indeed brings something new to me from the very beginning of it. The author reckons there is a vivid ambivalence in the play, but that ambivalence is not from the character Medea, but from her image in different interpretation. Most of the critics about the drama can be divided into two mainstream way of thinking, one is Medea’s heroic imagination, and another is about her brutal, witch-liked characteristic.
- Jan 26 Fri 2007 18:11
Death in Literature and Films
The Final Reflection of Characters in Films of Death
The process of life toward death is reluctant itself for the shortness of life forces us to leave, to let go. But there is always a period for people to suffer before they pass away, especially for those suffer from disease. Upon sensing the coming of death, people sudden realize what they should complete in life before leaving through self reflections. The process of reflection is always the focus of Death films and literature because it condenses personal feelings, self-judgment and individual moral arrangement. Therefore, what people have done before death is more important than the death itself. The paper will discuss how the characters in different films face the period of self-awareness and the final departure.
The Attitudes toward Life before the Death knocks on door
- Jan 26 Fri 2007 18:10
American Literature I
Professor Percy Kuo
Introduction on Emerson’s Concept of Nature
This paper will discuss some central concepts in Emerson’s “Nature. Emerson’s view of nature is mostly abstract and enigmatic, I search some detailed explanation on Internet after reading my note on the text book.
Me and the ‘Not Me’
Emerson presents his vision of the complex relationship between humans and nature. And his precedent ideals become the main spirit of transcendentalism. But why is nature so significant to us? In the introduction of ‘Nature’, Emerson brings out his thoughts clearly: “Our age is retrospective…The foregoing generation beholds God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe?” It is said that thought the tide of history, humans see the same from the beginning since God made us, we see the same sun, moon and star as our ancestors all the time. In this circumstance, Emerson believes that both nature and man belongs to God. Therefore, men can see themselves by viewing nature with intuitive reason and be guide by the truth of the whole universe when lost. We ‘act it as life’ and apprehend nature as a truth. “All science has one aim, namely, to find a theory of nature…whenever a true theory appears, it will be its own evidence, its test is, that it will explain all phenomena.” However, the theory of nature is hard to define anyway, but Emerson first clarifies the universe as a composition of Nature and the Soul. In a word, “all that is separate from us, all which Philosophy distinguishes as the NOT ME, that is, both nature and art, all other men and my own body, must be ranked under this name, NATURE.” “Nature, in common sense, refers to essences unchanged by man; space, the air, the river, the leaf.” Therefore, there are two genres of objects in this immerse universe, ME and the NOT ME. By defining nature as the NOT ME, Emerson urged intellectuals to turn to nature to find reflection of the self, because that every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact.
The Symbol of River, Water and Liquid in ‘Nature’
- Jan 26 Fri 2007 18:08
December 24th, 2006
Antigone: For LOVE or JUSTICE?
After reading Charles Segal’ “Antigone: Death and Love, Hades and Dionysus” in the text book, the theme of Eros in the drama interests me, so I found another two papers to read—“Eros in Politics” by Richmond Y. Hathorn and “Politics and Man’s Fate in Sophocles’ Antigone” by Alfred R. Ferguson. At the beginning, I will brief introduce their center idea in this paper with the arrangement of my personal opinion.
The Ero’s theme is fewer discussed in Ferguson’s “Politics and Man’s Fate in Sophocles’ Antigone”, he mainly explains human justice and the meaning of life in the paper with inference of Sophocles’ purpose of writing. Ferguson sees Sophocles’ characters in a more divine way, that is, they are made for certain purpose and will stands for their own purpose to death. To explain the characters’ identification, Ferguson doesn’t use the term of EROS to frame the characters, he simply point out different conscience of each character while proving they are precisely made by the author.
“Perhaps the main basis for naming Antigone the ‘Stand-bearer of human conscience’ is Sophocles, drew men as ‘they ought to be’ whereas Euripides draws then ‘as they are’.”(p43, Vol. 70, No. 2 (Dec., 1974), The Classical Journal) Ferguson also reckons that Antigone’s intention as the individual presentation of all men’s conscience. He calls this individual conscience “the human spirit that is sacred and inviolable unto death and beyond”, therefore, Ferguson reckons that the living shall act out human beings’ cognizance sanctity with the “ritual attention to the dead”. “Ritual attention” here is so significant that it connects more than the beloved livings, but also dead person. The spiritual attitude of persistence and selfless is what Ferguson thinks “justice”, Dike. However, he doesn’t see Antigone’s opponent, Creon as a simple villain (as Ferguson portrayed, many critics have this kind of idea) but another presentation of justice, which is for the whole family and state, simply trying to get rid of ritual roles which is persisted by a young woman, on the love to her brother. Therefore, Ferguson does not blame on Creon’s stubbornness or chauvinistic thinking, he merely points out the contrast between Creon and Antigone. “Thus here are two separate perceptions of Dike to which each protagonist is absolutely, grandly, passionately dedicated.” The justice here stands for “two mutually exclusive perceptions of the good” (p.45).
Ferguson does not agree that the agon is simply between “good” and “evil”. “Rather, it is between the two irreconcilable ideas, two antithetical, polarized perceptions of justice.” (p.47) By saying that, Ferguson reckons that each characters knows to choose the best way to achieve their ‘good’, though these ‘good’ might merely be personal justice. What we need to see is if that justice gets too personal, like Creon. As Ferguson analyzes, as the plays goes, “Creon grows more absolute as his intended ‘good rules’ and ‘best plans of all’ are overshadowed by his ego’s dilation.” His ‘ego’s dilation’ brings destruction, which is reckoned by Ferguson as ‘basic tenant of Greek belief’ (p.45). Ferguson refers that, in Sophocles’ world there is no premeditated deviations from ordinary mortal relationships but accidental ones. A Sophoclean character is not alone in the universe, without “moorings or definitive patterns of ethical and moral response”. Ferguson believes that Sophocles tends to portray individual act with “a divine, universal, natural, or public scheme” (p.48), as the contrast to Creon, Antigone fits more the frame, as an immortal that is divine and supernatural.