“After I had learnt something, it began to seem to me as if I knew nothing, and I was right: for I did not see the connection, and after all this is the whole point” pg 25
The quote I chose follows the moment when Wilhelm looks behind the curtain and finds the puppets that were once so full of life, and a source of joy and entertainment, being packed into a drawer. This discovery leaves him both puzzled and astonished.
In our last class we described youth as being naive. Although as youth we act as though we know everything, in reality we do not, and it takes moments of deep thought and complete confusion to realize it. Such moments of confusion then lead to discovery. These discoveries not only include understanding the world around us but also discovering who we are as individuals. Discoveries of one’s passions, one’s desires, and what one wants to do with his or her life, can also occur after such moments of confusion and this is the case with Wilhelm. Wilhelm’s love for theatre and plays develops on this day, and influences him as he transitions into adulthood.
“If first love, as I have generally heard maintained, is the most beautiful thing that a heart can feel, whether earlier or later, we must praise our hero as triply happy because it was granted to him to enjoy the bliss of these unique moments in its whole range” — Wilhelm Meister
This is a beautiful passage from Wilhelm Meister that accurately depicts the passion associated with young love. Passion directly correlates with youth and with the modern society because people are desperately seeking their passions in life, be it romantically or otherwise. Life is all about finding one’s passion, and it is interesting that this passage depicts Wilhelm as a character who has a passionate romance with a woman that he meets when he is out at the theatre–another passion of his. In this sense, the author seems to be combining the two passions to show the similarities between two extremes–love and leisure. It shows that the youth enjoy passion in all that they do and hope to achieve and, ironically, it is later shown in the reading that Wilhelm is being forced to join the work force and give up his passions. This pessimistic view seems to be the view that many youth have these days.
“If first love, as I have generally heard maintained, is the most beautiful thing that a heart can feel, whether earlier or later, we must praise our hero as triply happy because it was granted to him to enjoy the bliss of these unique moments in its whole range” (Wolfgang von Goethe, 21).
In this exert from Wilhelm Meister’s Years of Apprenticeship, the narrator discusses the importance that someone’s first love has on them and how those feelings of affection carry on with them for the rest of their life. Wilhelm and Mariane share a close relationship with one another, although it is looked down upon by their families. The experience that both Wilhelm and Mariane had while falling in love for the first time is so unique to them, because they have never showed such raging feelings for someone before. These feelings one shares while in a relationship range, from being madly in love with their significant other, to fighting for their side of an argument. Wilhelm and Mariane share a love that is real and compelling, and they put aside the fact that both of them from different social classes.
In the statement made by the author, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “being in love is the most beautiful thing that a heart can feel”, he enforces his point that lovers should take advantage of each pivotal moment of their relationship. Wilhelm is frowned upon by Mariane’s family, especially by Barbara, for he was the son of a merchant. Even though their families were against their relationship, Wilhelm and Mariane persisted with their romance. While falling in love, there are many “unique moments in its whole range” that partner’s share, from the first date they go on, to their first moment of intimacy. Wilhelm and Mariane share many fond moments with one another, from the time that he comes to her house after her first performance at the beginning of the story. Individuals can look back in time from their first love, all the unique moments shared, and learn from the heartbreak that they suffered from their previous relationships. Wilhelm and Marine love story is a romance can be seen in the past (youth) and in modern day.
“‘Away away with them! Today I don’t want to hear any more about all this; I obeyed you, it was your wish, let it be so! When Norberg returns, I shall once more belong to him and to you, and you can do what you like with me; 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'”
I believe this passage relates to more then one of the terms we compiled in class. It relates to rebellion because Mariane is trying to break free from tradition. Instead of saving herself until marriage, she wants to give herself to someone she really loves, which takes us to the second term: romance. This passage also expresses a more modern concept of love and union. The girl wants to be with the man she loves and not with the one she was set up with.
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.
“Consequently it became easy for him to make an arrangement which would allow him to escape his father’s reproaches, to calm his mother down, and the enjoy Mariane’s love in an untroubled manner. During the day he got on with his business punctually, usually did without going to the theatre, made conversation at table in the evening, and when everyone was in bed he slipped quietly out to the garden wrapped in his cloak, and hurried impetuously to his beloved, his heart full of romantic thoughts.” (22)
This quote describes the secret affair between Wilhelm and Mariane. A common scene in many stories about young lovers, it demonstrates many of the themes discussed in class. Obviously, deceiving one’s parents is an act of rebellion. Mariane is also rebelling against the constraints of her relationship with Norberg by indulging in a romance with Wilhelm. What is perhaps less apparent is that these types of interactions — not only in this story but in many others — also show youthful innovation. As I am sure many of us know, there are a variety of ways to deceive our parents, and surely today’s youth are innovating new methods all the time.
Whatever recalled his destiny as it had proceeded up to that point was laid aside; in his travels into the world he wanted also to be free from any unpleasant impression. Only works of taste, poets and critics, were placed as familiar friends among the elect; and as up to now he had made very little use of art critics, his eagerness for instruction was rekindled when he once more looked through his books…” (39).
In searching through his books for “instruction,” Wilhelm searches for a more meaningful kind of direction. He feels trapped and pressured, desiring only to be “free” from “impression.” This passage reveals a subtle yearning for rebellion. Yet Wilhelm still fails to find the correct path for his life, demonstrated by his unfinished works. As he explains to Werner that he “does not wish to waste time and energy on something that can never be of value,” (39) it seems as though he is speaking more about his life than his art. His lack of direction make him appear immature and inexperienced. His father’s attempt to guide him away from the impractical career of art and towards his own trade, business, is perhaps the “unpleasant impression” Wilhelm wishes to be free from.