Elements That Relate To Our Everyday Lives English Literature Essay

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Literature has elements that relate to our everyday lives. As we read different works by different authors, we can relate to a lot of different situations that they portray through their work. "A Rose for Emily", "The Story of an Hour" and "Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm", I see some of these elements that we can relate to, and find internal struggles in each of them.

In the story "A Rose for Emily" (Literature, Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama) an unnamed narrator tells of the strangeness of Emily's life and her odd relationships with her father and her lover, the Yankee road worker Homer Barron. She is seen buying arsenic, which the townspeople believe she will use to commit suicide. After this, Homer Barron is not heard from again, and is assumed to have returned north. Though she does not commit suicide, the townspeople of Jefferson continue to gossip about her and her weirdness, citing her family's history. She is heard from less and less, and rarely ever leaves her home. Not known to the townspeople until her death, hidden in her upstairs bedroom is Homer's corpse. This explains the horrid stench that emitted from Miss Emily's house 40 years previously. By finding a single gray hair in the bed, the townspeople discover that Emily had been sleeping with the corpse. Can a story end any stranger then this? William Faulkner has a very creative means to his writings. He writes with great suspense in this story and he writes the story set in his fictional town of Jefferson.

In the short story, "The Story of an Hour" (Literature, Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama) by Kate Chopin, we read about Mrs. Mallard who finds out about her husband's death and is happy instead of sad. .This story observes the classical unities of time, place, and action. The characters in this story are Mrs. Mallard, Brently Mallard(Mrs. Mallards husband), Josephine(sister), Richards(Brentlys' friend), and the doctors that did not make it on time. After finding about her husband's death, Mrs. Mallard dies from something more like despair instead of out of joy or shock. In our lives we have some mix feelings like Mrs. Mallard that we never let come to the surface. In reading literature, we learn that we are not alone in these internal, hidden feelings. As a reader, we learn about other ways of life and how it contrasts with our own. The Story of an hour makes us evaluate Mrs. Mallard's husband and ask, what could he have possibly done so wrong? It makes us wonder if we should evaluate our own lives and make sure that the plot of this story is not the plot of our own lives. It is difficult for a person to truly grasp the hardships or endearments of another person whose circumstances are uniquely different then their own. However, this is made possible with literature. By reading literature and comparing how it reflects society, we are able to use this newfound knowledge to better understand our world. These first two short stories I have used both have an element of hidden feelings, meditation and internal struggles. These are feelings that only the author knows and keeps hidden in their work. And the characters in the stories have this secret love for their spouses or significant others that only they know. Their internal struggles are easily read about in these stories and have a direct relationship with our everyday lives.

In the poem Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island Minnesota by James Wright, we also have a man who is meditating on his life as he looks over this farm and thinks he has wasted his life living anywhere else then where he is at the moment. What is the most striking in this poem is the poem is so strong up to that final line, that how could you not be swept along to see that only in stopping, pausing, wasting your life, could you be allowed to see the bronze butterfly, hear the cowbells, yearn for home. In such a way Wright's poem, for me, became this bittersweet but deeply felt affirmation for living, relishing that short interval we have before we head back home. I wish this was a longer poem, because it literally makes me imagine I am the one in this poem when I read it. I would rather have had a better finishing sentence, because then it would have been a happy poem. To wish you did not waste your life is not a happy thought.

In the previous three works, there is a critical point in each story. The authors all have surprising endings to the works stated above, whether it be death, remorse, or gore. They all have some type of hidden feelings involved. The characters seem to be soul searching and finding their true selves in these stories. The loss of a husband occurs in both "A rose for Emily" and "The Story of An Hour". Making these two works very similar because they both involve uncertainty of how they will end.

In the play Hamlet,(William Shakespeare) Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, needs to avenge his father's murder; this is complicated by the fact that the murderer is his own uncle, who has married Hamlet's mother (Gertrude). Hamlet eventually gets his revenge, but not before just about everyone dies. This play just like a lot of poems, has drama, sadness, dedication and ultimately death. I chose Hamlet to use because it was a very interesting play. It kept my attention from start to finish, because of the drama involved. Shakespeare was a genius in a lot of people's opinion.


Because I Could Not Stop For Death(Emily Dickinson)

Because I could not stop for Death,

He kindly stopped for me;( I feel she is accepting death in this sentence)

The carriage held but just ourselves

And Immortality.( her cause of death maybe)

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,

And I had put away

My labor, and my leisure too,

For his civility.(Almost seems she is welcoming death here)

We passed the school where children played,

Their lessons scarcely done;(this line reminds me of how little we know when we are early in life)

We passed the fields of gazing grain,

We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed

A swelling of the ground; (her grave)

The roof was scarcely visible.

The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries but each

Feels shorter than the day(Like time had stopped)

I first surmised the horses' heads

Were toward eternity.

I have included a background on Emily, because she is one of my favorite poets. Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst Massachusetts. She was raised in a strict Calvinist household while receiving most of her education at a boarding school that followed the American Puritanical tradition. Dickinson began to withdraw from society in the 1850's. The many losses she experienced throughout her life, the death of her father, mother, close neighbors, and friends influenced her life largely and led her to write about death to an enormous amount. Dickinson was a poet highly skilled in the use of humor and irony and she effectively used these tools in her poetry to stress a point or idea. However, her frustration, bitterness and independence are felt through the expressive lines of her poetry while at the same time concealing her concerns in a light-hearted and irreverent tone. Emily Dickens's works contain deep emotion and her words will continue to amaze those that have the privilege of reading them.

Kate Chopin:

Kate Chopin was born Kate O'Flaherty in St. Louis, Missouri in 1850 to Eliza and Thomas O'Flaherty. In 1855, at five and a half, she was sent to The Sacred Heart Academy, a Catholic boarding school in St. Louis. Her father was killed two months later when a train on which he was riding crossed a bridge that collapsed. 1871-1878 has five sons, Jean, Oscar Charles, George, Frederick, and Felix. Oscar Charles becomes a professional cartoonist for the San Francisco Examiner and his daughter Kate, becomes a talented artist. Her first novel, At Fault, was published in 1890, followed by two collections of her short stories, Bayou Folk in 1894 and A Night in Acadia in 1897. Her poems, short stories, and novels allowed her not only to assert her beliefs for herself, but also to question the ideas of individuality and autonomy during the turn of the century. Unlike many of the feminist writers of her time who were mainly interested in improving the social conditions of women, she looked for an understanding of personal freedom that questioned conventional demands of both men and women. In 1904 she died from a cerebral hemorrhage on August 22, after collapsing at the World's Fair, two days before.

(I noticed that all these authors seem to have high education and a great drive to express themselves in their writings.)

James Wright:

James Arlington Wright, one of the most prolific American poets of the 20th century, was the proud recipient of the Pulitzer Prize. Wright made a debut in the literary world in the year 1956, with 'The Green Wall. James Arlington Wright was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio, on December 13, 1927. In 1954, James Wright enrolled himself at the University of Washington. Studying under Theodore Roethke, he earned a master's degree and went on to pursue a doctoral degree. In 1979 James was Hospitalized with a severe sore throat and diagnosed with cancer. James died in 1980. This is just a short Bio of James Wright. But he seems to have been a very smart and educated man. He is a more modern author compared to some of the authors we have reviewed in our class, making him more appealing to me.

William Faulkner:

William Faulkner, a major American twentieth-century author, wrote historical novels portraying the decline and decay of the upper crust of Southern society. The imaginative power and psychological depth of his work ranks him as one of America's greatest novelists. He also received the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature. He was born on September 25, 1897, in New Albany, Mississippi. He grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, the oldest of four brothers. Faulkner had married Estelle Oldham, his childhood sweetheart, in 1929, and they lived together in Oxford until his death. He died on July 6, 1962.

I cannot say whether or not I will do a lot of reading from some of the authors. I will pursue Emily Dickinson's works in the future. I have never been very good at literature, but feel I am a little better now that I have taken this course. I want to see some of the plays such as Hamlet, to get a different view of it. I enjoyed reading it, but find that sometimes the plays can give some very good visuals to make them stick longer. William Shakespeare was my first experience with any of these authors and "Romeo and Juliet" is a great play and there have been a few excellent television versions that I have seen.