Monday, May 20, 2013


Both The Great Gatsby and The Awakening share similar symbolic features: color. They are used throughout both novels to symbolize suppressed or released feelings by the main characters. They denote the thought’s of the narrator, without mentioning them making it to obvious.  Even though The Great Gatsby has more colors portrayed through the whole novel, The Awakening is marked half way with a change from grayscales to color.

In The Awakening there are no pre-established stylistic colors as it is noticeable in the other novel, instead we see the evolution of Edna and her revolutionary pursuit as colors begin to appear in the narration. At first when she is living near the ocean and has found no way to overcome adversity everything is pictured through grayscales. Blacks, grays and whites prevail in her daily scenes. It is not until she escapes to an island with Robert one day when the bright yellow of fruits and colorful green houses begin to appear in the narration. Later on when she is back in the city Edna is experiencing the final stages of her transformation; more pops of color are set in the novel as her rebellious soul is finding a way out of the conformity. As her life comes to an end the novel leaves the opaque colors and becomes more picturesque until her drowning were colorful memories flash right before her death.

On the other hand The Great Gatsby is overwhelmed with colorful symbols. The most obvious is that of the green light, the one Gatsby sees across the bay towards Daisy. It represents the hope Gatsby has towards one day her, the love of her life, appearing in one of her extravaganzas. The other less obvious but as well constantly present symbol is the name of the female lover Daisy. It denotes the daisy flower; a flower that is yellow on the inside and white on the petals. It on the other hand connotes Daisy’s personality, she is perceived as an angelical, peaceful and loving character, but on the inside she is all about the money and the treasures she can find in others.

Both authors use colors to apprehend the readers towards their characters feelings in a way no adjective would do so. As I once read a great literary work comes from the bridge the author is able to build between his characters and his outer character: the reader. In this case colors are used as a literary bridge to relate closer to the readers through emotions expressed and lived daily that we tend to associate with our environment: colors.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Waiting for Edna

     In the play Waiting for Godot, Vladimir and Estragon are alienated from society. They are able then, through this separation, to perceive a world without societal expectations and question the true meaning of life. Kate Chopin first gave the novel The Awakening the title of A Solitary Soul and this is exactly how Edna begins to act now that summer is over, Robert is gone and she finds no real diversion in the city. Edna is willingly placing herself in a situation very similar to the one Vladimir and Estragon where placed in by Samuel Beckett to reflect upon societal repression and existentialism.

      Edna much like the two stooges, Vladimir and Estragon, feel and anxious need to question their environment and why they have to appeal to it. Since her arrival to the city Edna has broken every single rule established for a women like her. She has decided to take long walks through the city looking for nothing in particular, she has left the kids to the mercy of their nanny and she is dismaying the key values of her marriage with Leonce. Leonce is reproachful towards her newly adopted attitude and is seeking help with doctors and other close friends of his. But Edna is now finding herself understanding why she wants to swim further out, why that society is not for her. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Ocean

Kate Chopin’s Edna Pontellier and Ken Kesey’s inmates have the same outward conformism to society, but inside are searching for a way to escape such regime; ironically such freedom in both novels is expressed by the vast ocean. Both texts are a harsh critique on society of the time and its methods of segregation towards a certain person or group in society.

On one hand, Kesey’s novel evaluates the approaches of mental hospitals to cure the ill around 1950’s after the war. It was inhuman the way patients were treated with electro-shock therapies to the point of becoming morons, and if that was not enough they were emasculated by a possessive female figure Mrs. Ratchet.  When new inmate Randle McMurphy joins the pool he imposes new revolutionary ideas to rein the Combine. The first time inmates and readers experience true freedom is when McMurphy manages to take a group to the outer world, he convinces Mrs. Ratchet it will be good for them to go on a boat ride. The inmates can finally break out of the induced trance they had been living in and are allowed to see another reality. When in the ocean the prisoners feel free, it is a vast body of water that symbolizes and marks the beginning of the end for Mrs. Ratchet’s electro-shock therapies and crazy treatments.

Edna Pontellier is placed, by Chopin, in a repressed society in which men are the leading figure. Mrs. Pontellier insists she can achieve more than what any woman has done before and is set to achieve it. Her persistence will lead her to alienate from her common mother and wife chores, unsatisfied with the society she is forced to live in. Author Kate Chopin expresses Edna’s desire through the ocean. The character is constantly reminded of her duty as a rebellious woman when she sees the vast ocean. When she first learns to swim, she only gets a few meters away from shore, even though she claims she was miles away. It was a milestone throughout the novel well she can finally feel free. Every little accomplishment she has every step she takes closer to swimming farther out than any woman has done before.

The ocean in both scenarios is a symbol of freedom against a repressed society. In both novels the characters feel pressured to conform to their environment in a simulated happiness. Yet, after the ocean comes in play a glimpse of freedom is perceived by the readers. In many other literary works the ocean, due to its infinite size and places it can take you, has been used to symbolize: escape and free will.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


The play of Hamlet by itself is a long one; the writer of this article suggests that if technology were to be present in the Elizabethan era the play could have rambled on forever. He implies that this new forms permits us outreach to arduous amounts of information, making our decision taking even harder. We have more to choose from therefore we prolong our decision even more. Technology makes our uncertainty last longer. Our generation has adopted procrastination as a motto.

In this modern world we have even invented delaying tactics to limit us from accomplishing our tasks. The author states that “by complicating our lives we actually shorten them”, on the other hand with the lack of technology Hamlet prolonged it. As discussed various times Hamlet’s uncertainty guides the reader through a play in which not much happens until he finally sets mind to kill Claudius. Hamlet was so dragged into the internal conflict it took him forever to reach a decision. When he finally came to one he ends up dying. Even though he elongated his life for the time being, he also died at an early age therefore shortening it.
The author of the article exemplifies two ways he has found productive to limit his procrastination to the minimum. They are the following:

1.       Break the task down into small chunks and work through it methodically and paced.

2.       Give certain amount of money to a trusted friend and if you do not complete the designated task they can donate it to a cause you hate or highly disagree with.

If Hamlet were to have followed this designations he might have had accomplished something in a shortened schedule. If applying the first technique, due to Hamlet’s state of mind and denial Shakespeare could have been able to write a whole play on every single problem he encounters. Hamlet encounters within the already written play various small problems which he leaves unresolved because of his incapability of decision taking. If he were to have tried the second one it might have been a bit more effective. Even though Hamlet was a prince and money was never an issue, the bet can be done with another passion of his. Maybe Ophelia could be the catch. Then his good friend Horatio could send her away to some foreigner prince if Hamlet were not to complete his task in the designated time.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Live is a series of indecisions. Humans go day through day solving, posing and interpreting questions the environment jolts at them. One might conclude that humans live in a constant state of indecision, but where is the nature of such indecision. While listening to the podcast obvious relationships between the prisoners and Hamlet are perceived. While the prisoners have already overcome their indecision with killing and that is why they are where they are, Hamlet hesitates with this indecision throughout the play to finally act upon it and end up dying. The third type of indecision is that shown by Alfred Prufrock in T.S. Elliot’s poem in which after hours of meditation Prufrock accomplishes nothing. The question then is: who was the bravest of the three?

For the prisoners they took the decision to kill, acted on their impulses and ended up in jail. Looking it from the point of view of indecision, it was the best choice. They were able to grab reins of the situation acted and probably will have the rest of their lives to understand why they acted so. They will be able to comprehend something, maybe not all of them but they will have the time to reflect and find answers to why they did so.

Hamlet then is the second wimpiest of the three. Even though he staggers whether to kill Claudius or not throughout the whole play he finally does. The problem was it was too late, as minutes later he would be joining his uncle in death. Hamlet did act on his indecision and was able to see a result. Yet, he could not completely grasp his actions, not as the prisoners that will have a lifetime to de so. Hamlet never had the time to think it over and develop a conclusion whether his actions were worth it or not.

Lastly, we have Prufrock. He gives remorse in the scale of bravery. He was a wimp unable to complete his life actions because of fear, fear of rejection and incapability. He was so scared of this woman that after year of hesitation whether to speak to her or not he decides not to. At the end he has nothing to reflect upon because he never did it. Not like Hamlet or the prisoners that at least they had the satisfaction of acting, instead Prufrock just sat there and watched all his dreams crumble.

Indecision is born when we question something, it is not wrong, what is not right is to let those feeling envelop your ideals and leave you in a state of limbo were you do not know how to act. 

Monday, February 4, 2013


Hamlet and J. Alfred Prufrock have one main aspect in common: procrastination. They both intend on prolonging the pain of what they have to do throughout the play or poem. They riddle us around words and rhymes extending a decision that could have been taken in the first few minutes of each literary work. They will lead themselves doing nothing in that whole time and at the end they will brand a simple action after all that time of thought and previous meditation.

Hamlet is a very analytical character, and that is what leads him to procrastinate. With his renowned quote “To be or not to be, that is the question” shows his extreme empathy to indecision. Hamlet being such and analytical person might consider questions like living or not living while the play develops. Yet he takes it to extremes, he carefully plans and thoroughly questions his actions. Hamlet without noticing has a special way of delaying his actions he first questions, to then rationalize with his thinking, to finally procrastinate on a decision. They are various small conflicts Hamlet encounters all finally leading him to taking a procrastinated action on the global picture of whether to kill Claudius or not, which he ends up doing.

On the other hand J. Alfred Prufrock has no hint of being an analytical character; he is not really overanalyzing the situation he is simply devoured by fear. Prufrock has no sense of time as he seems it is never going to run out. As when he claims “there will be time, there will be time. To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet” it is obvious his actions are mandated by a constant fear to proceed, to act. He believes prolonging the action will make him take a better approach on it, when it really won’t. Prufrock delays his actions by demonstrating fear and negligence at each aspect he is given to move forward towards declaring his love. Maybe he feels timeless, like a broken watch, but his life did move on and, his love was not accomplished. After all the blabbering he gives us he then procrastinates, much like Hamlet did.

We as humans all tend to procrastinate on a daily basis; we evade our chores and believe that some magical force will someday do them. It is hard to push yourself into solving rather boring tasks but you will someday have to do them. Both Hamlet’s and Prufrock’s tasks are hyperboles of those we encounter but they leave us a message, both characters pushed their problems away to extremes. Deviated from the obvious path and therefore their lives were meaningless. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance: The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, esp. as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

Doubtfulness prevails as the main idea of the second part in Heart of Darkness. Marlow experiences a constant cognitive dissonance, as defined above, when he understands that the Indians are human beings just like him, yet is expected to treat them as peasants. The novel has an unexpected change of heart. This dissonance will drill further on into Marlow’s moral, affecting aspects of his expedition drastically.

                Marlow was convinced before leaving London that he would be exposed to tropical atrocities. He was prepared for the worst. “It was unearthly, and the men were—No, they were not inhuman”, Marlow claims. Europeans had created a connotation between the unconquered and the savages. It was all the same to them, their only goal was to exploit ivory. When the resource was over they would simply move on.

                Only few like Marlow were able to see that: “Well, you know, that was the worst of it –this suspicion of them not being inhuman.” In the novel, Kurtz is the first one to notice this, and for that he is seen as an idol, for both Indians and his fellow expedition. Marlow comes in and notices the same pattern, he is confused. He will have to choose whether to defy what is expected of him by the Company back home. Or on the other hand stick to what he is feeling and better off seeing.

 It took a whole expedition for only one person to notice the savages were not uncivilized. Later throughout the novel, Marlow will have to solve his cognitive dissonance. Either he will have to change his ideas to suit what he is supposed to do, or change his actions to meet with the same ideals he is now experiencing.