All posts by Jessica G.

Shedding Marji’s Religious Innocence

“I wanted to be justice, love and the wrath of God all in one.” pg. 9

In the beginning of Persepolis, we are introduced to Marji and her relationship with politics, religion and God. While Marji is innocent and naive, she is also smart and knows to keep her thoughts about God and becoming a prophet to herself when her parents ask her what she wants to be when she grows up. I think that Marji’s relationship with God at this young age is definitely rooted in a sense of innocence that most children experience. While most children, however, seem to have insignificant imaginary friends, Marji’s imaginary friend is God (or Karl Marx, depending on the hairstyle).

We see Marji beginning to face reality and lose this sense of innocence the night that God doesn’t come to her when she really needs it on page 17. In my opinion, Marji is learning about the way her world works. Just because she wants her revolution to be successful, there is no way that an entire population will support her. When she is illustrated crying in bed and God does not come to her that night, she is facing the reality that not all will go her way, especially when it comes to politics and even religion.

God, as Marji’s imaginary friend, serves as a vehicle for religion in the story. I think of God as being a visual representation of faith as a whole. In the beginning of the story, I think that Marji struggles with religion in this way, which is why God can not always come to her when she needs it. Her struggle with religion has to do with shedding that innocence that does not give her a realistic perspective of the political turmoil around her.

Jacob’s Room

“Had he, then, been nothing? An unanswerable question, since even if it weren’t the habit of the undertaker to close the eyes, the light so soon goes out of them. At First, part of herself; now one of a company, he had merged in the grass, the sloping hillside, the thousand white stones, some slanting, others upright, the decayed wreaths, the crosses of green tin, the narrow yellow paths, and the lilacs that drooped in April, with a scent like that of an invalid’s bedroom, over the churchyard wall. Seabrook was now all that; and when, with her skirt hitched up, feeding the chickens, she heard the bell for service or funeral, that was Seabrook’s voice–the voice of the dead.” ch 2 (don’t know page number, I have ebook version)

This paragraph really stuck out to me because it gave a clear image of what Seabrook felt like, without explicitly saying what about the town gave it this dreary feel. Since this paragraph is being described from the point of view of Betty Flanders, however, it can be assumed that her perspective of Seabrook is tainted because of her recently deceased husband.

Being recently widowed, it is understandable for Mrs. Flanders to look at the world around her as extremely morbid and filled with death. A very specific instance is described where Mrs. Flaunders associates a certain sound with death; hearing the church bells ring while she is feeding the chickens. This specific example shows that Mrs. Flanders feels surrounded by death even while going through daily chores and activities.

A few lines down following this paragraph, Archer’s voice sounded “at the same moment as the bell” and Mrs. Flaunders described this experience as a mixing of life and death, and that it was “exhilarating.” I picture this particular instance as Mrs. Flaunders catching herself in a sort of trance of death, where it is all she can think about at the sound of the bell. The word “inextricable,” meaning impossible to separate, is used in this sentence to describe the mixing of life and death. This is an interesting way to connect Mrs. Flanders’ deceased husband and her son who is still alive, and may be intimating something that will occur as the book goes on.

Benjamin Franklin’s Virtues

[…]I judged it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once, but to fix it on one of them at a time: and when I should be master of that, then to proceed to another, and so on, till I should have gone thro’ the thirteen[…]

After Benjamin Franklin lists the 13 virtues that he described to be “necessary or desirable,” he discusses the way in which he plans to go about learning these virtues. I find it interesting that he meticulously planned this out, and I think there is a lot to learn from Benjamin Franklin’s tactics.

As he goes through each virtue and breaks them down, it shows that has a clear plan to better himself. Benjamin uses the word “master” in terms of achieving each one of the virtues. This shows that he is willing to put effort and dedication into each virtue before he moves onto the next one. I find it admirable that as he broke down the individual virtues, he pinpointed which virtues would help him achieve certain goals of his. For example, he says that once Resolution became habitual to him, it would keep him “firm in his endeavors to obtain all the subsequent virtues.”

To go further, he creates a book that he carries with him everywhere, where he outlines, week by week, what virtues he will focus on. His organization and dedication to improving his flaws definitely contributed to his success and improvement as a person.

Wilhelm Meister Test Post

Wilhelm’s yearning for the attractive girl had risen on the wings of imagination; after knowing her a short while he had won her affection, and he found himself in possession of someone whom he loved, indeed adored, so very much: for she had appeared to him first in the favorable light of a theatre performance, and his passion for the stage combined with his first love for a woman. His youth allowed him to partake in rich joys that were enhanced and maintained by a lively imagination. The circumstances of his beloved also gave her behavior a quality of mood that very much supported his own emotions; the fear that her lover might discover the rest of her affairs prematurely gave her an attractive appearance of worry and shame, her passion for him was intense, even her uneasiness seemed to increase her fondness; she was the most delightful creature in his arms.

This passage incorporates many of the ideas that we associated with the word “youth” in class. The notion of naivety that comes into play in this demonstration of young love is very prominent. The repetition of the word “first” stood out to me, because it exemplified how inexperienced Wilhelm is in this facet of his life.