Wednesday, December 9, 2009
It is almost impossible to believe that Jane Austen led a relatively simple life—a life without constantly being exposed to the upper social class of her day. Austen was a sensible, down-to-earth type of girl. This is evidenced throughout her upbringing, romantic life, and development of her novels.
Jane Austen (1775-1817) was not born into a well-off family but to a middle-class family. Her father was a clergyman and owed debt to many, so she was not pampered. Therefore, she was taught good morals and universal truths which are ultimately the characteristics of a realist and not a romantic (“Jane Austen Biography”). A Romantic is one who expresses feeling and insight into what they believe reality is, stretching or even breaking the boundaries of ultimate universal truths (Sporre 453). Austen knew love like many of the characters of her books, but unlike the characters, she never actually married. She fell in love once with a graduate of Trinity College, Thomas Langlois Lefroy. Because Jane was poor, Madam Lefroy ended the courtship by sending her son away leaving, Jane to never see him again. Later on, Jane was proposed to by a man who could support her very comfortably with some of the luxuries life could offer. She accepted but changed her mind by the next morning. She refused to marry someone who was characteristically unsuited to her personality (“Jane Austen Biography”). She deals with this genuine issue of marrying for love or for monetary comfort in her books Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. She addresses both sides of various controversial social subjects while giving her solid, promisingly satirical opinion (“Jane Austen”).
Austen was brought up in a way that taught her to know what her moral standards are and to stick to it. This influenced her writings immensely. It is what ultimately led to her great legacy.
Pride and Prejudice is the most well-known novel of Jane Austen. It was her first success; it was an act that was hard to follow by her other books. This literary piece demonstrates realism through the characteristics of main characters Jane Bennet, Elizabeth Bennet, and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Kalil 13).
Austen portrays Jane Bennet as a young, fairly well-off woman who is very loving and kind-hearted. She is more of a love-romantic than her younger sister Elizabeth. However, she sensibly endeavors not to fall too quickly for the rich bachelor Mr. Charles Bingley—but she falls desperately anyway. Elizabeth Bennet attempts the same action subconsciously. She summons all the prejudice she can muster against the gossip-proclaimed, conceited Mr. Darcy, while all along learns to love his impeding imperfections. Like her sister Jane, Elizabeth is fairly well-off but not as rich as those like the Darcys and Bingleys of the world. Pride and Prejudice deals with this actual pride and prejudice of the society that Austen was accustomed to observing. Mr. Darcy was reluctant to love Elizabeth because she was of a lower social standing. Elizabeth is also forced to approach the subject of marrying for love or for money. Mr. Collins, a cousin to the Bennet girls, proposes to Elizabeth. She has a decision to make. It was either to marry her cousin for he was to take over their home when Mr. Bennet dies or wait and marry when she loves someone (Adams 5-7).
Of course, Jane ends up marrying Mr. Bingley, and Elizabeth declines Mr. Collins’s offer with the utmost, strained civility. Elizabeth then ends up marrying Mr. Darcy. She faced challenging decisions, but she ultimately chooses good morals like those of a realist (Adams 8).
Austen’s novel Emma portrays the real, heart-wrenching sides of love. This story teaches that there are always consequences for actions, good or bad. This is taught through the characters of Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Emma’s consequences.
The character of Emma is introduced to the readers in one swift sentence, pronouncing her beautiful, clever, and rich, with a complacent home and a close to spoiled nature (Austen 587). The story is about Emma’s journey from self-serving to emotional maturity. She is mixed up in love, per say, and she did things in vain. She attempted to play matchmaker between her friend Harriet and a young gentleman while knowing deep down that Harriet would be better fitted with a farmer who loves her. Emma is also flirtatious with a man named Frank Churchill even though she is in no disposition to ever seriously pursue him. She is ultimately always in love with a close friend and confidant, Mr. Knightley. Mr. Knightley is the “sensible” character of the story, and he is the constant of Emma’s life, giving her advice and genuine care. Because of Emma’s amorousness towards Churchill, Mr. Knightley runs away to London for his love towards Emma is the one emotion that he can not control. This is an impediment to her only opportunity for true love. Her mistakes were also a threat to Harriet’s chance for true love, and her choices also cause her public embarrassment (“Emma”).
The occurrences of love in Emma are probably highly exaggerated from real life, or it happens very rarely. However, the concept that consequences will always catch up with actions is prominent. Fortunately for every couple in this story, they end up with the right person, until death does them part.
Jane Austen’s realism was evidenced through her life, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma. She completed six books during her short-lived life—Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Northanger Abby, and Mansfield Park—and with those few books, she reached millions. Austen has left a legacy of satirical, priceless opinions that fundamentally demonstrate absolutes.
Adams, Carol, Douglas Buchanan, and Kelly Gesch. The Bedside, Bathtub, and Armchair
Companion to Jane Austen. New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group,
Austen, Jane. Jane Austen: The Complete Novels. New York: Crown Publishers, 1981. Print.
"Emma." Spark Notes. Web. 3 Dec. 2009.
"Jane Austen Biography." Ed. Gary Kelly. Web. 2 Dec. 2009.
"Jane Austen." The Literature Network. Ed. C. Merriman. Web. 2 Dec. 2009.
Kalil, Marie. Cliff's Notes: Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Foster City: IDG Books Worldwide,
Sporre, Dennis J. The Creative Impulse. 8th ed. Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Austin, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Bantam Dell, 2003.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
- Supercilious: Haughtily disdainful or contemptuous, as a person or a facial expression.
- Eclat: Brilliance of success, reputation; showy or elaborate display; acclamation or an acclaim.
- Taciturn: Inclined to silence; reserved in speech; reluctant to join in conversation.
- Disposition: State of mind regarding something; inclination; arrangement or placing, as of troops or buildings.
- Amiable: Having or showing pleasant personal qualities; affable; friendly; sociable.
- Solemnity: The state or character of being solemn; earnestness; gravity; impressiveness.
- Consolation: The act of consoling; comfort; solace; the state of being consoled.
- Caprice: A sudden, unpredictable change, as of one's mind or the weather; a tendency to change one's mind without apparent or adequate motive; whimsicality.
- Emphatic: Using emphasis in speech or action; uttered or to be uttered, with emphasis.
- Conjecture: The formation or expression of an opinion or theory without sufficient evidence for proof; an opinion or theory so formed or expressed.
- Censuring: Strong or vehement expression of disapproval.
- Ostentation: Pretentious or conspicuous show, as of wealth or importance; display intended to impress others.
- Impertinent: Intrusive or presumptuous, as persons or their actions; insolently rude; uncivil.
- Induce: To lead or move by persuasion or influence, as to some action or state of mind.
- Perpetual: Continuing or enduring forever; everlasting; lasting an indefinitely long time.
Image from Wordle.net
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Bantam Dell, 2003.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Q: What does it mean when it says, "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife" (Austin 1)?
A: Mr. Bingley has everything else; why can't he have a wife too? It was something that men prided themselves in: having a good fortune and a sociable, well-off wife who can gossip.
The book goes onto say that this statement is a "universal truth" in the minds of the families surrounding Netherfield. Bingley is is a rich, single man who is announced a possession of "some one or other of their daughters (Austin 1)."
Q: Why does Mr. Bennet favor Elizabeth?
A: Mr. Bennet seems to like what is underneath and not the surface types of attributes. He thinks his other daughters are "silly and ignorant" while Elizabeth has "more of a quickness than her sisters (Austin 3)." He seems to appreciate girls with wit.
Austin, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Bantam Dell, 2003.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Q: What is Communism?
A: According to Princeton.edu, communism is "a form of socialism that abolishes private ownership."
Q: Is Wang Lung's insatiable appetite for Lotus uncommon?
A: I don't think it is. Men have a hard time controlling their lust for beautiful women. It happens everyday.
Q: Why is this chapter so difficult to read?
A: O-lan is the only truly good person in the Wang Lung's life. So when her heart breaks, your heart breaks too. She is admirable and a woman of good quality, therefore, a favorite amongst many. Her love and care for her family is immaculately shown. It's hard to read this chapter because one of the strongest characters in the book is being broken down by harmful acts of lust.
Q: Why can Wang Lung not love O-lan?
A: He does not know what true love is. He thinks that love is lust. He's too self-conceited and self-absorbed to realize what true love is.
Q: Is it better to be beautiful and a slave or ugly and a wife?
A: Lust only lasts so long, as illustrated in The Good Earth. Wang Lung is a lusty man like all men are until his old age. If O-lan was still alive, she would be of more use to him than Lotus was when he became old. O-lan would have still cared for Wang Lung and fed him. Lotus did not know how to do those things. Personally, I'd want to be ugly on the outside and beautiful in the inside. (But of course...I'd like to be both. But if I had to choose, I'd be ugly even though it's a hard decision.)
Definition from: "Communism." Web. 2 Nov. 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Q: What are your thoughts on arranged marriages?
A: I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to arrange marriages. However, I wouldn't prefer it. I would like to pick my own husband. But back to arranged marriages...any two people can live together and be married their whole lives. Yes, it would take an unbelievable amount of work, but it's possible. It's also possible for people to learn to love whoever they need to learn how to love.
Q: Describe Wang Lung's prosperity in a Wordle.
Image from Wordle!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Q: Wang Lung's marriage preparations reflect his social standing. What do you think about social classes? Should people spend outside their means for special occasions?
A: Back then, social class status was given to people. I think it's unfair. However, now, if a person is lazy, they deserve to be poor; if a person is hard working, they deserve to of the higher class. I believe that less fortunate people should be able to spend some extra money on something special, but why do they have to spend extra? The most precious thing anyone can get is good memories, and that's priceless.
Q: Why does Wang Lung struggle so much with the thought of having a plain wife? Unbound feet? Do you think his father's reasoning's about an ugly slave are wise? How important is an attractive spouse to you? Are you "holy" enough to date an ugly man or woman?
A: Wang Lung is a guy (or a human being for that matter). Enough said. I think that his father's reasonings are actually kind of smart because back then it seems that it was a true generalization. Of course, naturally, I don't want my husband to be ugly, BUT I think if I really love him, I won't care. I think that every one's gonna grow up to be fat and ugly anyway...so what does it matter? I have liked not-so-good-looking people before, so I would like to say that I am "holy" enough to date an ugly man. Haha...but I'm probably not.
Q: Wang Lung and his father do not degrade themselves by speaking to or addressing O-lan directly. Is this still true today? They also complain about spending and the food -- why? Are those good enough reasons?
A: I'm not sure about China, but I'm pretty sure this isn't still true today in Hawaii or America. I think they complain about spending and the food because they have pride, and to say that a woman is doing something well is too high of a compliment for a "foolish woman."
Q: List the things that Wang Lung is impressed with in his new wife.
A: She can prepare food just like how they'd eat in the "great house".
Q: How is sex perceived in this first chapter?
A: It is perceived as a link to man and his wife. I thought it is also a special time because they were both virgins.
Q: What do you think about set gender roles in the home? Should the wife work the kitchen? Should the man support his family financially? Have roles shifted today? If so, why?
A: The feminist side of me says that it's sexist, but biblically, I think that it's okay to have "set" gender roles in the home. A woman is supposed to prepare food for her family. She doesn't only have to work in the kitchen though. I would like a man who rakes in more money than I do--just so he's more "the head" than I am. Roles have shifted majorly today compared to how it was back then. I think one of the reasons why it has shifted is because men haven't been doing so well. They haven't been stepping up to do what God has called them to do. I also think that it's because women are rebelling against the our consequence of being under men.
Q: Why is it important to Wang Lung that his wife like him? Why is he ashamed to feel what he does? Is that gender specific? Is it cultural?
A: It's because he wants to feel accepted by her. He's human; naturally, we all want to feel accepted by our peers. Despite the fact that he culturally shouldn't feel like that, he has somewhat of a heart. I think that if anything, women nowadays try to show that they don't need a man even though they do.
Q: How much value do you place on common sense and hard work? Is it important to you that your spouse have both?
A: Honestly, I think I'd value my common sense a whole lot if I had some. I'm not sure how much I actually have. As for hard work, I like to think I am hard working, but I am naturally lazy. I hate to admit it, but I only work exceptionally hard on the things that I want and like. It is very important for my husband to at least be a hard worker. And if opposites are supposed to attract, I won't have to worry about him not having common sense.
Q: Respond to the first paragraph on page 31 about the earth.
A: The earth is a living creation. For Wang Lung and O-lan to feel rhythm and unison while working on the fields, it seems strangely normal. It says that they were moving silently together. "Actions speak louder than words," is given a whole other meaning.
Q: Make a prediction of O-lan's time at the "great house".
A: I think O-lan being married to Wang Lung was a step up for her even though it was to a more poorer environment. Just by the way she felt so smug that she could show off her son, you can tell that it wasn't a good life for her. I think that she was fed well, but no one paid much attention to her, and she was also beatened at times.
Q: What privileges do you think should be given the firstborn?
A: I might be a hypocrite to say this (because I'm the firstborn), but I believe that the firstborn should be treated equally amongst all the other children. I think "privileges" should be given to the level of maturity a person has, not because he or she are older tan the rest. Age is but a number.
Q: Wang Lung gives O-lan one more piece of silver than she asks for. Why the generosity? And why is giving this money painless for the first time?
A: I think that Wang Lung is more emotional than he should be back then. I think it's because he feels overwhelmed with emotion that O-lan can actually see their baby clothed (and also a boy). I think it was painless because it was the first kind gesture that he did for someone else (O-lan and his baby). Giving is better than receiving.
Q: Is O-lan a remarkable woman in her simplicity and quietness as she gives birth? Or is she emotionally and painfully stunted?
A: O-lan is a remarkable woman whether or not she gave birth quietly or not. I can't believe that she stopped during the time of her labor to make dinner for her grouchy father in law. I think the way she did it by herself and also quietly makes her one strong kind of woman.
Q: List the customs that are shared with the birth of a son.
- Buy a basketful of eggs
- Dye the eggs red
- Get red sugar for the mother
- Have friends and family over
Q: What is the importance of O-lan's milk? From a medical point, how important is breast milk?
A: O-lan's milk is what was keeping their daughter alive. Breast milk helps the baby's digestive system--helps to digest it easier. It also bonds the mother and child together more.
A: I think frugality should be highly exercised on many levels such as money, food, and time. God directed us to be good stewards of everything we have. Once a year I will burn a hole in my pocket to buy new clothes after I empty out my closet. I really have to be in the mood though (sometimes my pake side comes out).
Q: What would you attribute their good fortune to?
A: Simply, to their hard work. Hard work comes from success.
Q: Think of Wang Lung's prosperity in comparison to the rest of the village (consider the previous chapter as well). Is he stingy or wise?
A: He is most definitely wise. In order to be rich, money has to be saved and accumulated.
Q: What are Wang Lung and O-lan proud about?
A: I think they were proud because they got to walk back into that house with their heads and spirits high. It must have just been the best smug feeling in the world. They had much to be proud about like having a healthy SON for a firstborn.
Q: Are Wang Lung and O-lan happy?
A: I believe they are.
Q: What is the land a sign of and symbol for?
A: Land is a sign of wealth to them. Having land is like the key to look prosperous and successful.
Q: Is Wang Lung a heartless man for not giving his wife respite after the birth of their second son? Does O-lan enable him to justify what he does by what she does?
A: Yes, very heartless. I think he is thoroughly impressed though because I'd think by this time, he realizes that she's a lot more tougher than he is.
Q: Consider the generational respect Wang Lung gives to his uncle. Should respect and authority be earned or simply demanded with age?
A: Respect should naturally be given to the "elders" of the family, but only the ones who take care for the safety and well-being of others. I think respect should be shone all around, not just because a person is old.
Q: What is your personal philosophy on loaning money? Why?
A: I'll loan a dollar here and there (I'll mostly ask to borrow); I'll never loan large sums of money now (since I don't have a lot of money now). I think that money should only be loaned to people who can be trusted to pay it back. I, personally, do not like the idea of letting people "borrow" my money because I am a very greedy person. However, I do believe that God tells us to help people who are in need. If that's what he says, then so be it.
Q: Should we take care of our relatives the way Wang Lung does for his uncle's family? What about when you know the cause for their situation is laziness or addiction?
A: We should...to an extent. We should help where help is needed. However, I think that helping someone like Wang Lung's uncle isn't necessary. Sometimes actions just have to have bad consequences, and grace shouldn't always be given.
Q: What are your thoughts on O-lan killing the ox instead of Wang Lung?
A: "WIMP!" It's things like this that started the roots of feminism (just joking).
Q: How important are your basic needs? Sleep? Eating well? Exercise?
A: It seems as, for the past nine weeks, my basic needs have been highly neglected. My sleep has been minimum; my diet not watched; and exercising has no place for thought in my everyday goings. I guess that's what Fall Break is for. :)
Q: Why does O-lan speak here and not Wang Lung?
A: She felt a need to defend her family and their belongings.
Q: Was it merciful to end the child's life? Is that infanticide? Acceptable? Cultural?
A: I didn't know until I read this question that O-lan killed the baby. In a way, it is merciful, but I don't think that it's the right thing to do. It would have been different if the child was a boy. So no, it's not acceptable.
Q: Would you have sold the land? Is it really about the land or was it because it was highway robbery?
A: It was highway robbery. I would have (and I think Wang Lung would have) sold the land if it was bought for a higher price.
Q: "Then there was always distrust of that which one did not know and understand."
A: There are thieves everywhere. It's hard to say to trust everyone because everyone isn't trustworthy.
Q: "It is not well for a man to know more than is necessary for his daily living" (Buck, p. 97)
A: Why not? Why shouldn't man be able to have possibilities and dare to dream? With God, man can achieve so much, and to know that, comes the act of either taking initiative to do those things or not.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Q: Is it cocky of the men to think they can win Lucy over if she's not in love with another man?
A: Yes and no. Yes, because men think that all women need a man in their lives to live because they cannot support themselves. No, because Lucy was flattered by all of the men's requests. She even sort of wished that she could be married to all three.
Q: What do you think about husbands and wives having secrets? Should they not have any secrets? What about things like separate bank accounts, checking email and phone accounts, and boy's night out? How much individuality should be allowed?
A: It depends why the spouse is holding a secret from the other. If it is to genuinely protect the other (and not just themselves) then it should be okay. However, all other things important and necessary that need to be out in the open in order to have a healthy and truthful relationship should be said. I believe in joint bank accounts because once you are married, you become a family, and families should share. Separate email and phones are fine because if you cannot trust your spouse enough for "little" things like that, why marry them in the first place? No trust equals a very emotionally torturous and insecure marriage. Boy's night out: go ahead. Have some fun but not dirty fun. After two people are joined together by marriage, individuality should still play a part in each person's lives because personality and characteristics is what gets people together in the first place. Having too much or too little individuality is not that important because everyone should be striving to be like God anyway.
Q: Should we keep personal diaries? They may cause pain to others...
A: I used to keep one from 6th grade to 10th grade (more or less). I have probably filled out around over 6 of them. I told my family and friends that when I die, do not read it, and just throw it away or BURN them because I know that it may cause pain to others. No doubt about it. I do not keep one anymore. The reason why I used to is because I wanted to look back one day and reminisce and laugh about what I thought was important and compare it to what I think is important now.
Q: "We women have something of the mother in us that makes us rise above smaller matters when the mother spirit is invoked. I felt this big sorrowing man's head resting on me, as though it were that of a baby that some day may life on my bosom, and I stroked his hair as though he were my own child. I never thought at the time how strange it all was" (Stoker, para. 61). Is this strange?
A: Yes, it is a little strange because it is not everyday that a grown man lets his emotions flow in front of a woman. Guys just have too much pride for that. I think it is okay though, for women to act as the motherly figure when a guy needs it the most. God made people for people. What use is it having friends if you cannot bawl out to them once in a while?
Q: "No one but a woman can help a man when he is in trouble of the heart, and he had no one to comfort him" (Stoker, para. 65). True statement?
A: Yes, it is a true statement. There is a difference though from back then and now: REBOUND GIRL! That is what they would call it now, however I do think that there can be such thing as a girl friend who can help their guy friend "heal the wounds of his heart" after a break up -- not without some level of emotion being involved. Another reason why I think it is true is because women are just naturally more sensitive to emotions compared to another bloke friend. Sometimes guys need some pity in order to find comfort to start the grieving process.
Stoker, B. (1987). Dracula. Book Glutton. Retrieved May 30, 2009 from http://www.bookglutton.com/detail/Bram+Stoker+/Dracula/126.html
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
1. Argumentativeness: fond of or given to argument and dispute
2. Athwart: from side to side
3. Condition: social position; a particular mode of being of a person or thing
4. Dogged: persistent in effort; stubbornly tenacious
5. Drugged: to stupefy or dull with or as if with a drug
6. Friend: a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard; a person who is on good terms with another
7. Horror: an overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting; a shuddering fear
8. Idle: not working or active
9. Moment: an indefinitely short period of time
10. Mundane: of or pertaining to this world or earth as contrasted with heaven; worldly; earthly; common; ordinary; banal; unimaginative
11. Rebuff: a blunt or abrupt rejection, as of a person making advances
12. Strength: the quality or state of being strong
13. Unwound: to undo or loosen from or as if from a coiled condition
14. Vulpine: cunning or crafty
15. Zoophagous: carnivorous
7. Horror shoots through the veins of Jonathan Harker when he sees Dracula in the streets of London.
11. According to Van Helsing, Dracula has the strength of 20 men.
13. When Mina unwound the cloack from Lucy's neck, there were "pin" marks, which was later found to be vampire bites.
15. The zoophagous patient Renfield drew attention to himself like no other patient did.
All definitions from Dictionary.com!
N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sep. 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Q. Briefly summarize the most important events of chapter 4 and create a Wordle image.
A. Harker is asked to write letters to his employer and Mina saying that he his safe and has left the castle. The letters are to be dated a month from what the day was then. Harker asks to leave immediately, and the Count let's him. However, there is a pack of wolves out in the forest that ate a lady several days before. He scales the castle's walls to get to Dracula's room to find that the Count is either sleeping or dead in a box. On June 30, Jonathan decides to scale the wall to Dracula's room again finding the Count looking younger with blood on his lips. He tried to kill the campire with no avail.
Q. What are your thoughts on proposals?
A. Proposals do not necessarily have to be romantic at a romantic restaurant with romantic music playing in the background. However, the right timing and preferably the right person is imperative. :)
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
L O V E. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is money. Love is lust. Love is supposed to be God, but often times in today’s post-modern society, the definition of “love” is not what it really is. Dracula depicts many different themes of love – specifically, sacrificial love.
A first illustration of sacrificial love is Mina Murray’s friendship to Lucy Westenra. One discovers in chapter 6 that Lucy has the “defect” of being a sleep walker. One night out of many nights of being in charge to keep Lucy from doing harm to herself, Mina awakes to not find Lucy not in her bed. Lucy just so happens to have sleep walked to the cliffs where they have just visited that very day. Lucy, not being fully dressed, was understandably cold. Mina wrote that she wrapped her shawl around Lucy and “put my shoes on her feet (Stoker 94).” Mina walked on the wet gravel and risked social humiliation for her friend’s comfort. That truly gives a new selfless definition of love in a friendship. It gives a new meaning because even though a lot of people say they love their friends, how much are they willing to lit-er-a-lly give up for friends?
A second illustration is Dr. Seward’s heart-crushing devotion to Lucy. From the outside looking in, Seward’s adoration towards her seems a little pathetic. Why is he giving his own time, his own blood to a woman that he so dearly loves but whose heart belongs to another? “No man knows,” Seward recorded in his journal, “what it is to feel his own life-blood drawn away into the veins of the woman he loves (Stoker 130).” He’s in deep. Although one might feel "piteous" is the right word for Seward's affection, his devotion is a type of sacrificial love. How many guys after being rejected of a marriage would give blood to a woman who doesn't return the love?
Stoker, Bram. Dracula. n.d.