Death as an Unspoken Thing becomes the Main Issue in The Sisters by James Joyce

 

The Sisters

The Sisters first published in 1904 within Dubliners, and then James Joyce revised it ten years later. The book, Dubliners asserts the nationality of the author; and the story itself has a strong influence by the Irish. The Irish people in The Sister are depicted as religious citizens and really attached to the Catholic rules at that time. Since one of the main characters is a reverend, the setting, background, and the plot of the story follow the Catholicism. These things built the story and turned up some conflicts yet issues within.

This story uses first nameless person point of view in telling the plots. He has no direct relation with The Sisters which is the title. They both refer to Nannie and Eliza, the sisters of Father Flynn. The relation between ‘I’ and the sisters is bridged by the Father. He is perhaps one of Father Flynn’s student or maybe someone who studies to be a reverend. Read more

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The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield

The Garden Party

The Garden Party is a story of a family who held a party. As I can see from some passages which I explain later, class becomes a main topic here. Meanwhile, I cannot see clearly whether the Sheridans are upper or middle class, but in my opinion they are middle-class because of the worker father, ‘or shall I have to tell your father when he comes home tonight?’ The setting perhaps is in New Zealand. As written in the passage ‘Against the karakas, then the karaka-trees would be hidden’. It is endemic to New Zealand by Maori (wikipedia). Mansfield was born and brought up in New Zealand. The style of writing in The Garden Party uses past tense because the events are over and the narrator only re-tells it. The story is told by third person omniscient point of view. It knows what happened in everywhere, for example in every part of the house and in the lane. It also knows the character’s thoughts. For instance, it knows what Laura was thought as ‘How many men that she knew would have done such a thing? Oh, how extraordinarily nice workmen were, she thought.’

Laura appeared several times as she was the one who had responsibility in arranging the garden party. Laura’s idea, action, and perspective play an important role here. Through Laura I can see there is difference in some person. It was indicated from, ‘Laura upbringing made her wonders for a moment whether it was quite respectful of a workman to talk to her of bangs slap in the eye.’ And ‘something that was to be looped up or left to hang, of these absurd class distinctions.’ It was about her and the tallest workmen and I presume there was an attraction within. It began from her first sight of the workmen. ‘His smile was so easy, so friendly that Laura recovered. What nice eyes he had…’ and ‘Why couldn’t she have workmen for her friends rather that the silly boys she danced with… She would get on much better with men like these.’ Laura saw a new image of man; she compared the lower class man with her middle class fellow. She knew there are classes in life and disagreed with it ‘It’s all the fault, she decided… of these absurd class distinctions.’ Laura tried to break the rules and made a connection with the other class, such as regarding the four men as impressive worker, paying attention to them, and caring the neighbour outside the front gate, ‘When the Sheridans were little they were forbidden to set foot there… but since they were grown up, Laura and Laurie on their prowls sometimes walked through.’ Meanwhile, she didn’t really want to jump the bounds. When Laura and Laurie walked to the lane, ‘It was disgusting and sordid. They came out with a shudder.’ She felt sympathetic for the neighbour, ‘But it all seemed blurred, unreal, like a picture in the newspaper’ She finally visited the cottages to deliver her empathy but she felt not belong there, ‘It was a mistake to have come; she knew all along it was a mistake. Should she go back even now?’ There is a contradiction within herself as she was also clashing with her mom and Jose, ‘Again, how curious, she seemed to be different from them all’ and ‘Here she was going down the hill to somewhere where a man lay dead, and she couldn’t realize it… She had no room for anything else. How strange! …’

There was a gap between the big house of Sheridans and the little cottage, ‘True, they were far too near. They were the greatest possible eyesore, and they had no right to be in that neighbourhood at all’ (the cottage by the narrator). ‘They’d hear us, mother; they’re nearly neighbours!’ (the cottage by Laura). ‘The chap was married too. Lived just below in the lane’ (the cottage by Mr. Sheridan). I also see an obvious disparity between the big house of Sheridans and the little cottage as life and death. Life was represented by the garden party which were alive, beautiful morning, loud voices, laughter, couples strolling, flowers, happiness, tinkling spoons, kisses, ideal weather. Whereas death was represented by the little cottage which was gloomy, pale sky, poverty-stricken chimney, smoky and dark lane, sordid, disgusting, old, unreal. The moment when Laura stepped out of life (her house) and stepped into death (the cottage) was not easy. People stared at her because of her appearance and she realized it, that she was different. The time when Laura came into the bedroom to see the dead man is crucial. She saw a real body of death. ‘There lay a young man, fast asleep—sleeping so soundly, so deeply, that he was far, far away from them both. Oh, so remote, so peaceful. He was dreaming…. What did garden-parties and baskets and lace frocks matter to him? He was far from all those things. He was wonderful, beautiful. While they were laughing and while the band was playing, this marvel had come to the lane. Happy… happy… This is just as it should be. I am content. ’ Death suppose to be dreadful, but Laura used words ‘wonderful and beautiful’ to describe the dead man, ‘marvel’ to describe death. In contrast, ‘But all the same you had to cry … Laura gave a loud childish sob.’ This death was like an unexpected reality than what she had fancied before.

Inside and Outside Bodies: Daughter of the House by Michele Roberts

Here is another analysis by me and Faizal Anwar. We discussed about one of Michele Roberts’s work which is Daughter of the House.

Daughters of the House

We looked up at Oxford Dictionaries and found three meanings of body that describe our perception about body related to Therese and Leonie in ‘Daughter of the House’. First, body as a noun means the physical structure, including the bones, flesh, and organs of a person or an animal. Second, (the body of) body means the main or central part of something, especially a building or text. Third, [mass noun] body means the physical and mortal aspect of a person as opposed to the soul or spirit. In our opinion, these meanings have something to do with both daughters and their relation to each other also to the house.

Physically, there are many kind of women body and it is different from men; the kinds of shape, the sexuality organs, and the phases of the body changing. There are also many parts of women’s body becomes a benefit as their shield or attractive devices which were explained in ‘Daughter of the House’. In Leonie’s case her body is the physical structure; she wants to show her body identity from what other people can see.

Meanwhile, Therese’s body related to her soul, perhaps it is matter because Therese only wants to show her purity through the body in serving for God. The third meaning of body said that it opposed to the soul or spirit, but Therese’s body is her soul.

Both daughters as two different woman and have their own bodies is a single body within the house. They are the body of the house and the body of the text because they are the central part of the story and each thing which was described in every chapter has something to do with them. However, ‘The Words’ becomes the title of last chapter, whereas, the other titles of the chapter are inanimate objects. Word is Logos in Greek which also relates to reason, idea, ratio and those seem to be men’s body (means that words are their authority), meanwhile body as the physical and the soul are belong to women. By means of the using of ‘The Words’ as the last chapter, the women of this story take control of men’s body. They also have the authority of word and speaking.

We saw Therese’s body and Leonie’s body complete each other as the body and the soul. It becomes a complete unity. Perhaps this is why they see their reflection in each other.

Bad Blood by Lorna Sage

Bad Blood

These are responses from me and Iffah Adilah about Sage’s Bad Blood:

  •  How the grandfather’s diaries function as memory works in Bad Blood? [structure]

We knew that Sage used her grandfather’s diaries as the main source of this autobiography since the end of third chapter in part one. After she revealed the diaries, the story started telling grandpa’s secrets, including his sins. Sage brought up the memories by retelling what she read from the diaries. So the memory became vague because her grandpa’s life came into the part of her memory.

  •  What badblood refers to and what it signifies? [symbol]

In our opinion, badblood refers to the Grandpa because Grandpa had many affairs with other women during his lifetime which were called ‘sin’ by Sage. On the other hand, Sage also inherited the badblood because she “had acquired from Grandpa (badblood!) vanity, ambition and discontent along with literacy.” (Sage 2000:130). Blood is an inseparable thing from humankind and it shows the flow within self. As a reverend, Grandpa had done many bad things which shouldn’t be done by him. That is why badblood means howler and he bequathed it to his grandchild and not to his own daughter; because Sage was the only one in that family who had strong bond with him.

  • What ways badblood as the autobiography of Lorna Sage also writes the lives of others? [content]

Sage told her life in narrative which describes the situation of Hanmer at that time. in telling her own life, Sage put the interaction with other people in sufficient detail by telling the names, the places, and the condition. For example, in the beginning Lorna Sage told about her childhood in Hanmer. At this time, she couldn’t avoid to tell about the old Hanmer including the place and society. In the next passage she also couldn’t avoid to tell his grandpa’s lifetime as the autobiography itself consits part of it.

11 Books You Should Read If You’re A Woman In Your 20s

I have read… none. and I (still) call myself a student of english literature. In addition, yes I have vagina and boobs, practically am a woman and 22 this May. #silent

Thought Catalog

According to Love Twenty, women in their twenties are supposed to read diet books and novels about shopping. I disagree. Here are my suggestions for novels you should read if you’re a woman in your twenties.

1. The Awakening by Kate Chopin (1899)

This classic novel about female sexuality and personal exploration during the turn of the century is one of the first novels to explore casual sex on the part of a woman — a married woman. But it’s not all about sex. It’s about a woman as a person, not a gender. What does it mean to make oneself happy? What must one sacrifice to be independent? Is it considered selfish to go after what one wants? How can desires be reconciled with social norms? The list of woman-centric existential questions The Awakening explores goes on.

2. Daughters of the North/ The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall…

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The Wife of Bath’s Tale

The Wife of Bath

Canterbury Tales adalah sekumpulan cerita yang ditulis oleh Geoffrey Chaucer pada akhir abad ke 14 dalam Middle English. Canterbury tales dibuka dengan cerita setiap pilgrim yang memulai perjalanan mereka ke Canterbury, ke tempat suci dari Thomas Becket. Mereka memutuskan untuk bercerita untuk mengisi waktu saat berkumpul di Tabard Inn. Tuan rumah dari Tabard Inn mengatur peraturan untuk ceritanya. Setiap pilgrim akan bercerita dua kisah dalam perjalanan menuju Canterbury dan dua lagi saat kembali. Tuan rumah juga akan memutuskan siapa yang terbaik dan sang ksatria mendapat kehormatan untuk memulai cerita.

Salah satu dari para pilgrim adalah The Wife of Bath. Sang istri ini memulai ceritanya dengan distertasi yang panjang mengenai pernikahan, dan ia menceritakan tentang pernikahannya dengan lima suaminya. Tiga suami pertamanya adalah lelaki-lelaki tua yang akan ia paksa meyediakan semua kebutuhannya, juga menggunakan cara menolak untuk bercinta ataupun dengan rasa bersalah. Dua suami terkahirnya lebih muda dan lebih susah untuk dikendalikan. Suami terakhirnya adalah Jankin, berusia 20 tahun, setengah dari sang istri. Jankin agak menyusahkan karena ia menolak untuk didominasi oleh istrinya dan sering membaca kesusastraan tentang wanita yang bersikap tunduk.

Suatu saat ketika sang istri merobek salah satu buku Jankin, Jankin memukulnya dan mengakibatkan sang istri tuli pada salah satu telinganya. Bagaimanapun, Jankin amat sangat merasa bersalah karena kejadian tersebut. Setelah kejadian itu, Jankin menjadi sangat tunduk kepada sang istri dan mereka hidup bahagia.

Kisah sang istri sendiri, yang ia ceritakan di Tanbard Inn, berisi tentang dinamika pernikahan. Kisah ini dimulai pada jaman kerajaan Raja Arthur, beliau mempunyai seorang ksatria yang akan dihukum mati karena memperkosa seorang wanita muda. Ia bertahan karena sang ratu. Beliau akan membebaskan ksatria asalkan ia dapat menjawab pertanyaan ratu mengenai apa yang diingini oleh para wanita. Ksatria tidak dapat memberi jawaban yang memuaskan hingga suatu waktu ia bertemu seorang wanita tua yang berjanji akan dapat memberi jawaban akan pertanyaan sang ratu dengan syarat ksatria harus menikah dengannya. Ksatria setuju dan akhirnya mendapat pembebasan dari hukuman setelah menjawab bahwa para wanita ingin kedaulatan atas suami mereka. Bagaimanapun juga, ksatria tidak puas dan kesal karena harus menikah dengan seorang wanita tua yang buruk rupa. Oleh karena itu si wanita tua berkata, ksatria boleh memilih mau menikahinya sebagai wanita tua yang buruk rupa tapi tunduk pada suami atau dia sebagai wanita muda yang cantik tapi berkuasa dan dominan. Akhirnya ksatria memilih menikahinya sebagai wanita muda, dan walaupun sang wanita mempunyai wewenang lebih dalam pernikahan mereka, tetapi pada akhirnya mereka berdua hidup bahagia.

Beowulf

Beowulf

Beowulf

There was a king of the Danes named Hrothgar. One day the king, the queen, and the people had a party all night long in a hall called Heorot. At Heorot they drunk and sang about Hrothgar’s glory. The place was built near Grendel’s place. Grendel was a demon, an outcast from society who was angered by the singing. Grendel was described as a cursed God’s creature and was exiled like Cain.

In the night after drinking, singing, and feasting, all the people in the hall were sleeping, and Grendel came unexpectedly. He attacked, killed, and devoured many thanes while they slept. Many warriors died because they didn’t prepare for the battle except the king, Hrothgar. Grendel didn’t dare to touch him. The next day, Hrothgar and all men were surprised by the damage caused by Grendel and there was a great sorrow among them.

After twelve years they were attacked by Grendel, until Beowulf, a Geats, and the son of Ecgtheow, friend of Hrothgar heard about Grendel and offered some help to the king. So one day, he and other fourteen thanes came to Heorot and met Hrothgar. A warrior named Unferth doubted the power of Beowulf and he brought a shame on Beowulf about his lost against Becca in a swimming contest.

The night came, Beowulf planned to fight Grendel with nothing. It was a hand-to-hand combat. Finally Beowulf beat Grendel successfully, he broke Grendel’s arm until he died. The morning came; Hrothgar and all people entered the hall to celebrate Grendel’s defeat. He offered Beowulf gifts but he refused it and told the king that he fought for the glory, not for the gold. Everybody was glad for Beowulf’s victory.

The happiness happened not so long, because other disaster came soon. Grendel’s mother appeared in Heorot in the next night and attacked them in revenge for Grendel’s death. Beowulf and one of his men visited her lair under the lake and once again Beowulf won against the woman.

Beowulf became king of his own people and nothing bad happened until one day, late in his life, a slave stole a golden cup from a dragon on its lair and it became angry and burned everything. Beowulf who was young no more came with his thanes to slay the dragon. Finally the dragon died and so did Beowulf. Beowulf buried in Geatland after his cremated. Beowulf’s death brought so much pain among his people because his bravery and glory. His name will be remembered forever.

Sources:         chapter 1 : Jaman Old English, Beowulf (modern English translation) by Anonymous

Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Harrison Bergeron

Harrison Bergeron

Harrison Bergeron is one of Vonnegut’s science fiction. Science fiction is a speculative fiction and not like the other fantasy works, sci-fi looks forward, really forward. We can see from the setting in this story. Vonnegut takes 2081 as the year, “THE YEAR WAS 2081…” but we do not know the exact or physical place of it. I think this is ‘the unknown’. The story moves only in George and Hazel’s house and in the television studio through their television. In every fantasy works there is an unknown. Human being is always fascinating about the unknown. This is the reason why fantasy appears. The possibilities to make fantasy are still wide and will never ends because of the human’s curiousness will always stay there. The fear of the unknown and the eagerness are the fuel of creating new unknown. People in this era are looking forward in searching unknown because the technology are developing and there will be always some things new to find out or to fancy.

The style of writing in Harrison Bergeron uses past tense because the events are over and the narrator only re-tells it. The story is told by third person omniscient point of view. It knows what happened in both places (George’s house and Television Studio), also knows the character’s thoughts. For instance, it knows what George was thought as “A buzzer sounded in George’s head. His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm.” And “George was toying with the vague notion that maybe dancers shouldn’t be handicapped”

One thing that I see clearly in this story is about equality. It is appear in the very first sentence,

“…, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else”. I compare the equality here with the communism by Karl Marx in good general way and communism in Time Machine by H. G. Wells. But then we will see in Harrison’s world the meaning of it is shifting and the old concept of equality was beginning to give way to the new. No longer like the ideal communism. Continue reading

Reflection of FOE by J.M. Coetzee

Foe

After I had finished the book, one thing that interests me is the character which is Susan Barton. She is the ‘I’ and the main character. Susan is the one who tells whole story as the narrator to the narratee, Daniel Foe. She knows everything because she experiences the story and she remembers the treasure of the past. It is proved by the parenthesis which shows that Susan realizes she is telling story and has the right to put something in addition. Narrator doesn’t represent the author because it is a creation.

This book is divided into three parts. Chapter one is told by Susan in descriptive way. She describes all things she saw in the island, what happened there, how they lived, and what she felt specifically. Sometimes I feel bored to read her description. She addressed all explanation to Daniel Foe, a professional writer, in single quote that refers to diacritical marks. The second part is written like letters, she addressed it to Foe too. But the letters seem never been read or received. The last part is more like first person narrative.

Susan has an English mother and a French father. She has an only daughter who is kidnapped by an Englishman and he brought her to the New World. Susan tried to catch her back to Bahia, Brazil. She lived there for two years but it didn’t give any good result. So she made a voyage to Lisbon, Portugal and had a crush with the captain. Soon the crew of the ship mutinied and killed the captain. Then they threw Susan to a boat with Captain’s corpse. One day she drifted ashore in an isle and met Friday and Cruso. It is the beginning of the rest of the story.

Characteristic that I see on Susan is feminine yet masculine. She is so brave that she could survive from whole adventures in order to rescue her daughter. How she can live in Bahia for two years and in an island for one year with only two strangers. As a result, Captain Smith asked her to make a book about her adventures as a castaway. Meanwhile, Susan still shows her feminism side in how patient she was when she took care of Cruso who is sick, and how Susan gave attention to Friday, the slave.

The way Susan tells us her thought and her feeling in the story is so explicit. In my opinion it is her way to keep all memories of the journey, she also longs her story, but then I can’t decide which fact is and which fiction is. She preserves herself and her history in a way she attempts to give voice to Friday.

The Minister’s Black Veil – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Minister's Black Veil

Minister’s Black Veil

Minister’s Black Veil has a lot of prejudices and suspense throughout the story. This short story is a parable and there are many times when Father Hooper says something, he uses word like ‘if’ or ‘perhaps’. It seems there is significance in every word he said.

“If it be a sign of mourning,” replied Mr. Hooper, “I, perhaps, like most other mortals, have sorrows dark enough to be typified by a black veil.”

The way the focalizer describe Father Hooper as a man that rare to talk and to interact with people shows that he has something hidden. Perhaps it has a relation with the reason why he wears a black veil, the black veil that he wears references to secret sin and has a special meaning that no one knows and he tries to conceal his sin from people surround him. When he looks his reflection on the glass, he feels horrible. It shows that Mr. Hooper afraid of his own shadow with the black veil hang on, because it presents the guilty feeling of his sins. Sin is related to death and everybody afraid of death in common. But in the story itself, the thing he tries to hide is never been revealed. Until his death he still not cast away the black veil. It shows how strong he wants to keep his secret sin and there is a deep meaning of the veil.

Instead of try to understand and to accept Father Hooper, people have prejudices against him. Perhaps because Father Hooper actually represents the real people as a human being, the black veil is a symbol which represents the sins in this story, sins that make a huge distance between people with others and people with God. People usually hide their bad deed or thought because they don’t want people judge and avoid them based on their mistakes.

Minister’s Black Veil tells something more than a story. It has a special perspective of sin that covered the whole story. The point of view is through the third person’s eye (covert) which is limited. The story is represented by the parishioner’s side. We pretend being one of them. So we can see many versions of reason, opinion, and prejudice about Mr. Hooper’s vagary. It also cause the story is never untangled and has no resolution because there are problems every time Father Hooper starts to speak. He rare to make a conversation but the veil shows everything. It makes the people are grope for the proper answer what is behind his veil throughout the story. There are many questions pop up in the story but never be really answered. The story continues from one to another analysis.