The sorrows of younger werther

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The following passage from “The Sorrows of Younger Werther” is found on page 24:  The town itself is not attractive, but I find ample compensation in the indescribable beauties of nature surrounding (…) The gardener seems to think well of me, though I have been here only a few days and, I will see to it that he enjoys working for me.

The passage above, to my opinion, has different meanings.  First of all, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) explains a lot about young Werther.  The latter states that he does not find the town very appealing, but contradicts himsel by stating that he can find some sort of beauty to it.  That same passage also mentions the garden Werther thinks is not great.  He says that even though the garden might not be the most beautiful one he has seen, it was designed by someone “with the sensitive heart”, someone that “sought to find its enjoyment there” (usually someone of the lower class, most likely the working class) and not by “a scientific gardener” who tends to be a higher class peron.  Also, I think Werther is trying to say that one need not be a scholar of any kind to be able to make a good garden.  He is saying that even the common, simple man who has a lot of experience in gardening can also do something well. 

As we can see at the beginning of the book, Werther is a very happy person, someone who always sees the glass as half full and finds a lot of enjoyment in everything he does.  The children seem to like him, even though he had not been there for long.  They thought he was making fun of them when he asked questions about what they were doing but he made sure it did not bother him.  Werther says that it is strange for someone of higher social class to mingle with the common man.  He goes on to say that no one is created equal but he disagrees with those who do not mix with the simple people only because their “ranks” are not the same.  I think that Werther is right saying that the people with different social class should still mix.  The most striking example where you can argue that the common man is perhaps almost as good as a higher ranked person happens when Werther says that the gardener did a decent job on working on the garden. 

What we can deduct from this passage is that Werther is a very passionate and delusional person at times, although we later find out about his love for Lotte and that changes his point of view about many things in life.  Unlike Faust (Urfaust), Werther does not disrespect Lotte.  Although she is engaged to Albert, he does not stop liking her.  I think Werther still respects Lotte because the former somehow tried to keep his distance from her (although we see that he eventually fails to do so in the end because he is too deeply in love with her).  We find that he senses that Lotte likes him as well which led to him kissing her later in the book.  He is also very faithful in a way, because when he meets Lotte, he is told not to fall in love with her and she is engaged.  He still ends up falling for in love but respects, to some extent, that she is engaged and does not interfere in Lotte and Albert's relationship until he tries to kiss her later in the book.  Was Werther successful in making Lotte like him?  Most likely, because when Werther dies, it is being said that Lotte was very sad and people were scared about what she would do, if she was going to commit suicide as well.  We know that Werther likes to do many things, which includes drawing.  Later in the book, he writes to William telling him that he drew a child and a baby who were waiting for their mother.  He also loves reading Homer.  Why didn't he just go back to doing those things so that he can get his mind off of Lotte?  Why did Werther keep go back to see Lotte, knowing that he cannot have her?  Did he think that she will leave Albert in the end so that she can be with him?  I think Werther knew that Lotte would not leave Albert for him.  In my opinion, he purposely kept going back to see Lotte was because he did not want to “get hurt” and the easiest way to not be hurt by the lack of Lotte's love was to see her often.  He could have left and gone back home but he did not.  He wanted to be with Lotte for as long as he could.  I also think that he did not go back because he thought that because Lotte is not married to Albert, he is not crossing any lines by, in a way, wooing her. 

Moreover, Goethe lived in the early and middle Romanticism period.  Romanticism is described as being the period where the relationship with nature, folk songs and national language was important.  Also, the “Sturm und Drang”, although was a “short-lived movement”, was part of Romanticism.  The Sturm und Drang is described as the time when there were a lot of very touchy feelings being brought about.  The Sturm und Drang period does not want to make people to not reason and just feel what they should do or say.  Instead, what the Sturm und Drang movement does is trying to combine both people's reasoning and feelings together to allow everyone to maximize their mental faculties.  It is also a period where individual subjectivity and, in particular, extremes of emotion were given free expression in reaction to the perceived constraints of rationalism imposed by the Enlightment and associated aesthetic movements.  During this movement, it was also believed that there was a high tension between highly educated people and people with very low social standing.  As stated earlier, Werther strongly disapproves of it.  Also during the Sturm und Drang, there were protests that the middle class should be emancipated.  I think that if the middle class was to be removed from society, there would be a larger gap between the working class and the upper class.  At the same time, there would be more conflict between those two classes. 

The passage I selected also talks about Werther being in the house which once belong to an old man who recently passed away.  The former mentions that he loves the garden and hopes he will own it soon.  The gardener seems to like Werther after they met for a few days only.  I think Werther wants every person he meets to like him.  The reason being that he says he wants the gardener to enjoy working for him by saying “I will see to it that he enjoys working for me” in his letter to his friend.  Also, when Werther meets Lotte for the first time, he is told to not fall in love with her.  In my opinion, what is being said there is that Werther is a person who tends to like people quickly and wants everyone around him to like him back as well.  Although he falls in love with Lotte, who is engaged to Albert, Werther does not think negatively of Lotte's fiancé.  Werther says in his letter to William that Albert is the best man on Earth.  He certainly means it because he does not try to lure Lotte away from her fiancé.  Maybe he was seeing what was best for Lotte when he gave up on her.  Werther is a man who loves freedom; he loved moving from places to places, seeing new things around the world.  If he was to be with Lotte, he would have to give up so many of the things he loves to do. 

Werther wrote a letter to William on July 8th stating that we are all children, meaning we all are a little stubborn and when we want something, we should get it.  He wanted Lotte to look into his eyes.  He wanted her to look at him so that he can wave at her.  It is just like a child wanting something.  This statement relates to the passage I chose because children always see the good side of things.  It is rare to see a child think negatively about things. For example, children do not think negatively when it comes to wanting something really bad.  The child will only see the good side of having, for example, a chocolate bar.  It only brings joy and happiness to that child and he will not think of any bad effect that chocolate bar brings to him.  As per this example, Werther moved into a summerhouse after the death of an older gentleman who made the town's garden.  Werther ended up shedding a few tears only by thinking about how he is now living in the “broken-down summerhouse” that was the man's favorite place.  I think, what is being said here is that Werther ends up liking the house a lot because it was the gentleman's “favorite haunt” and it is now his. 

I think that he might have stopped being a happy man because there was a wave of bad things that happened to him throughout the whole story; an aquaintence of his killed another man, his favorite trees were being chopped down, the valley he loved so much was flooded, and obviously, Lotte was never going to be his.  Werther maybe felt like nothing was worth living for anymore and he decided to just leave everything behind knowing he would not have to worry about anything anymore.  I understand that Werther should have left Lotte way before the situation got more and more complicated but I think that when Lotte slapped him after he tried to kiss her, was  the straw that broke the camel's back.  Werther could not take it anymore.  He had to pull the trigger.  Unfortunately, it was Albert's gun that killed Werther but the former could not have known that Werther's plan was to use the gun to commit suicide.  Additionally, Werther has had other streaks of bad luck when he was at the party with Fraeulein B feeling good, but ends up being mad at her later on.  It seems that every time he was happy with someone, there would be something bad happening.  One can say that Werther maybe was cursed.  He could never be happy with people, thus he shot himself. 

To conclude, we see a major difference in Werther at the start and at the end.  Some major changes made him who he was in the end and it was mostly his own fault.  His irrational reaction to Lotte rejecting him was obviously fatal.  Was his suicide inevitable?  I think it was.  When he wrote to William, we could see that there was some tendency to let go of life.  We do not know what William was saying to Werther, but we can only assume that he was trying to help out.  I think the two things that made Werther kill himself was the discussion he had with Albert, when the latter says that suicide is something natural, and of course, his lost love for Lotte.  In the end, Werther may have done the right thing ending his life, but we will never know what would have happened if he would have stopped seeing Lotte as soon as he started falling for her.

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