All posts by Pamela Y.

Hard Tests of Manhood

“It is de first step into manhood for you. When you are older, de next step is to kill a goat, and den from dere we begin your manhood rites. But dis is de first step.” pg 19

In this quote Elvis’ uncle, Joseph, explains to him his rights of passage in becoming a man in their culture. The first step is to kill an eagle, and then the next step is to kill a goat, and from there the other men in the tribe deem him worthy or not. I my opinion killing an eagle seems much more harder than killing a goat. One is flying and can fly away in less than 2 seconds, and the other is pretty much stationary not even being able to run away, and yet they have him the harder of the two at the mere age of 5, much early than any other of the boys in the tribe. It seems very unfair to me that he should be punished and have more potential to be de-manned because of his mother’s sickness. I understand that with his mother’s sickness Elvis will inevitably have to become a man anyways but to have him fail in front of the entire tribe seems to be a cruelty his father takes pleasure in. His father probably was expecting him to fail and be given a reason to disown him that didn’t make him seem like a horrible father in front of the whole tribe.

The second thing that strikes me, not only in this quote, but in some quotes before, is the dialect of the natives. Personally I have plenty of friends from Nigeria to know that this is really the way people born and raised there talk. I’ve never been able to spell out the way they talk, but the author does a very good job in describing in words and uses the correct letters, so that in my mind I hear the accents he wants me to hear. Specifically most of the “th’s” are replaced with “d’s”.

Adolescence or Character?

“I did not want him to know me. I did not want anyone to know me. And then, again, I was undergoing with my father what the very young inevitably undergo with their elders: I was beginning to judge him. And the very harshness of this judgement, which broke my heart, revealed, though I could not have said it then, how much I had loved him, how that love, along with my innocence, was dying” (16).

In the passage above David is reflecting on his childhood and the relationship, or lack thereof, between him and his father and aunt. David acknowledges the fact that his hatred for his elders stems from normal adolescence. Although the actual words puberty or adolescence are never said, they are such common phases that we can all relate to that there is no need for him to put a name to the feelings he is undergoing. Though when I read this, the language that he uses made me think that what he was describing wasn’t just the normal “teenager stage” it was more his pent up feelings finally coming to realization.

As David mentions his innocence was dying, and along with that his love for his dad. I don’t think that with one came the other exactly; I think it was more of a chain of realizations. As we get older, we seem to notice more things and put two and two together. David realized just how much his father wasn’t there for him growing up, and when he realized that it was because of alcohol and prostitutes he resented his father even more and so chose never to have a relationship with his father. So even though David blames his age and adolescence for his feelings towards his family, what his words are really saying is that he is coming into his own character and choosing not to have relationships with the kind of people his father and aunt are. Although, in my opinion, his aunt is only thinking of his best interests.

A Fool’s Fool: A Look at Nora’s Character

“Helmer: Forgery, that’s all. Don’t you know what that means?

Nora: Mayn’t he have been driven to it by need?

Helmer: Yes, or like so many others, done it out or heedlessness. I am not so hard-hearted as to condemn a man absolutely for a single fault.

Nora: No, surely not, Torvald.

Helmer: Many a man can retrieve his character if he owns his crime and takes the punishment.

Nora: Crime?” (Act I, pg. 46)

In this conversation between Nora, the protagonist, and her husband, Helmer, Nora is trying to persuade Helmer to forgive Krogstad for something that Nora herself has done in the past, of which Helmer knows nothing of. I thought this conversation was very risky of Nora to have with Helmer, even though Krogstad just came to threaten her if she didn’t. To me, Nora is giving too much away in the way she is reacting to what Helmer is saying, but Helmer, being a naive husband that he is, doesn’t think for one second that his “little lark” could do anything so incriminating.

Nora is portrayed in a very complicated light throughout the first act. She is portrayed as a shopaholic, maybe even a gold-digger, and dependent on many occasions, but then she is portrayed as strong-willed, persuasive, and decisive on all other occasions. Nora seems to only have the weak persona when Helmer is around or near. When Christina is with her, she divulges just how decisive she was in saving her husband’s life, and the strong-willed actions she took in order to do it. When she is confronted with Krogstad, even though by all means this is the time when she is allowed to seem weak, she stands up to him and does not let him rattle her, though he has all the evidence he could need to incriminate her and bring shame upon her family. Yet in the scenes when it is just her and Helmer, she is always asking for money, though we learn why, dancing and humming about, and doing anything and everything to appease her husband.

The role of appeasing wife seems to take import on Nora’s character, even though it makes her out to be foolish on multiple occasions. Thankfully the audience knows better by the end of the act than to only think of her as a “little lark”, but Helmer’s character remains in the dark and therefore is even portrayed as a fool himself.

Pamela Yurrita: Relationships Both Modern and Ancient for Youths

“…but until then I want to lead my own life, and even if you had a thousand tongues, you would not talk me out of my plan. I want to give my whole self to the man who loves me and whom I love. Don’t make faces! I wish to submit to this passion as if it should last eternally.” ¬†(Wolfgang von Goethe, pg 18)

In this scene, young Mariane embodies youth, whether it be modern or ancient, while talking to her old servant Barbara. Mariane clearly shares the ideals of all young girls, maybe even boys, in that she wants to marry or to give herself over completely to someone that she loves, or thinks she loves. Both modern and ancient youth share this hope in literature, movies, plays, you name it! Relationships between men and women haven’t changed much when looking at youth; they are all reckless and still believe in true love and happily ever afters. Relationships when looked at by older people seem to be logical or beneficial in some way or other, which is why Barbara tries to talk Mariane out of her sudden whim to be with a merchant’s son instead of rich Norberg. But Mariane, being young and in love, cannot and will not be talked out of her decision.

In the quote above Mariane acknowledges that Barbara will talk her out of her decision, and I think this shows that Mariane knows that what she is about to do is foolish in some deeper, more logical part of her mind, but she is just so overcome with love. Being young she really doesn’t know any better, or what consequences she could have in going through with this form of adultery. ¬†Back in the day most relationship were arranged, beneficial to both parties, but always the girls seemed to suffer because of the lack of true love, having not chosen this path. In ancient and modern relationships there were always rebels, such as Mariane, that could not let themselves be forced into these relationships. In literature, movies and plays everything seemed to work out just fine for these girls, but in real life these girls probably had a very tough life.