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"Marlowe's biographers often portray him as a dangerously over"“ambitious individual. Explore ways this aspect of Marlowe's personality is reflected in 'Dr. Faustus.' " Christopher Marlowe lived during the Renaissance period in 16th century England. Although this was a time of change, the Elizabethans still had fixed moral values. 'The Chain of Being,' a concept inherited from the Middle Ages, can be described as a hierarchy of society, with the monarch at the top and the lowliest peasants at the bottom. Below people were animals, plants and rocks. During the Elizabethan era, 'dangerous ambition' would probably involve trying to break the 'Chain of Being' and striving to increase one's social status. It was believed to be necessary to accept one's place in the chain, as to disrupt it and overcome the set order of society could mean chaos would follow. Faustus was an exceedingly ambitious man, even in relation to what is considered to be ambitious by people in today's society. In the prologue, The Chorus sums up Faustus' background and early life, emphasizing his ordinary background and academic success. It seems that Faustus' intellect made him become proud and this fired up his ambition. When Marlowe presents Faustus in scene 1, Faustus methodically shuns great authors and classically intellectual subjects, such as medicine and law because they hold little attraction to him, line 11 'A greater subject fitteth Faustus' wit.' The above quote shows how Faustus elevates himself above taking up an intellectual pursuit that would be highly esteemed by the Elizabethans. Another sign that Faustus holds himself in high regard is that he refers to himself in the third person, also shown in the above quote. Faustus' discusses beliefs that he will no longer hold and describes what he wants to achieve in his opening soliloquy. Faustus may be seen as blasphemous in the opening speech, implying that he would only be a doctor if he could be equal to God, lines24-6 'Couldst thou make men live eternally Or, being dead raise them to life again, Then this profession were to be esteemed.' This is made more obvious when Faustus lastly says, line 62 'A sound magician is a mighty god.' Marlowe portrays Faustus as being over-ambitious by his turning to magic, which is a much more sinister and much less conventional pursuit than others that he had been discussing previously. Faustus hopes that magic will make him omnipotent and god-like. There is little evidence to suggest that Marlowe himself wanted power over others, but his rise in society from a shoemaker's son to a scholar at Cambridge University and later, a spy, was extremely rare at the time. Marlowe did not lead a normal Elizabethan life; in fact, one could say that it was similar to fiction. The over-ambitious part of Marlowe's personality is reflected in Faustus because it seems Marlowe must have wanted success in his life, and to over-reach his set path in life. It becomes clearer as the play continues that Faustus is a dangerously ambitious person when in scene 3 he discusses the deal with a devil, Mephastophilis, concerning the selling of his soul to the Devil in return for earthly power. When Faustus makes the contract, it seems as if he is not thinking ahead as his attitude is carefree. He possibly does not believe in Hell, or that he has a soul, or about the reality of the bargain. His attitude at this point can be summed up by the following phrase Scene 4, lines 103-4, 'If I had as many souls as there be stars, I'd give them all for Mephastophilis.' Faustus' ambition for power and lack of foresight are what doom him later on in play. Arguably, ambition can be said to have caused the downfall of Marlowe himself. His violent murder in a London tavern in 1593 was mysterious and historians often question possible motives for killing Marlowe; his drive to succeed may have made other people envious and resentful. In 'Dr. Faustus', other characters are probably envious of Faustus too. In one of the comic scenes, scene 6, we learn that Robin and Rafe have stolen one of Faustus' books and plan to use it to seduce a woman. They must have been jealous of Faustus' power and his magical aptitude; however it is not the case that he is murdered by these characters later on in the play. Faustus is ambitious and enjoys his newfound power until the end of the play, despite being warned of the reality of his empty bargain by the Old Man and by the Good Angel throughout the play. The Old Man says in scene 12 lines 107-9, 'Ambitious fiends, see how the heavens smiles At your repulse, and laughs your state to scorn. Hence hell, for hence I fly unto God.' This moment foreshadows Faustus' lines at the end of the play, where, horrified, he must face the Devil and Hell. Faustus' ambition makes him a more human character despite him his selling his soul to the Devil, which may make him more difficult for the audience to relate to because of the extraordinary situation. His intellect sometimes creates doubts in his mind about the bargain that he has made, but his ambition overrides his conscience until the very end. This is shown by the Good and Evil Angels, who appear in scenes 1 and 5. They are binary opposites and in my view are present to put another side to Faustus' personality "“ a conscience. The Good Angel tries to motivate Faustus to repent by concentrating on God's anger. However the Evil Angel contradicts the Good Angel, Scene 5 lines 253-6 'EVIL ANGEL: Too late. GOOD ANGEL: Never too late, if Faustus can repent. EVIL ANGEL: If thou repent, devils shall tear thee in pieces. GOOD ANGEL: Repent, and they shall never rase thy skin.' The Good and Evil Angels' stichomythic dialogue is not too realistic and shows how torn Faustus is between the two sides. He is easily swayed and believes the angel that speaks last, but it is interesting to bear in mind that despite the warnings, his ambition stays with him to the end and leads to his downfall. Marlowe portrays Faustus' ambition as dangerous; it was the cause of his demise. Perhaps Marlowe used the theme of over-ambition as a warning to the audience, who would be likely to be wary of ambition - it was looked down on as a negative personality trait in Christian England. Ideas around at the time such as 'The Chain of Being' reinforced religious opinion into people's everyday lives and morality plays popular from the early 1400s to the 1580s were used to strengthen people's Christian principles, as 'Dr. Faustus' also does by discouraging ambition. Marlowe reflects ambition in the character of Faustus to deter the audience from being ambitious, and over-reaching their place in the 'Chain of Being'. However, if Marlowe chose to be 'dangerously over-ambitious' and regarded himself as this, it is likely that he may have written 'Dr. Faustus' differently, not viewing ambition in such a negative way. Whatever Marlowe's view on ambition was, it is not made clear in the play, through Faustus or other characters. Certain aspects of his personality are indeed reflected in Faustus, which make reading the play and exploring Faustus as a character even more intriguing.
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"Marlowe's biographers often portray him as a dangerously over–ambitious individual. Explore ways this aspect of Marlowe's personality is reflected in 'Dr. Faustus.' " Christopher Marlowe lived during the Renaissance period in 16th century England. Although this was a time of change, the Elizabethans still had fixed moral values. 'The Chain of Being,' a concept inherited from the Middle Ages, can be described as a hierarchy of society, with the monarch at the top and the lowliest peasants at the bottom. Below people were animals, plants and rocks. During the Elizabethan era, 'dangerous ambition' would probably involve trying to break...

Marlowe reflects ambition in the character of Faustus to deter the audience from being ambitious, and over-reaching their place in the 'Chain of Being'. However, if Marlowe chose to be 'dangerously over-ambitious' and regarded himself as this, it is likely that he may have written 'Dr. Faustus' differently, not viewing ambition in such a negative way. Whatever Marlowe's view on ambition was, it is not made clear in the play, through Faustus or other characters. Certain aspects of his personality are indeed reflected in Faustus, which make reading the play and exploring Faustus as a character even more intriguing.

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Clark 1 The play Oedipus...Clark 1 The play Oedipus The King begins with the king and queen of Thebes, Laius and Jocasta. Laius was warned by an oracle that his own son would kill him and that he would marry his mother, Jocasta. Determined to reverse their fate, Laius pierced and bound his newborn sons feet and sent a servant away with him with strict instructions to leave the child to die on the mountain of Cithaeron. However, the servant felt badly for the infant and gave him to a shepherd who then gave the child to Polybus, king of Corinth, a neighboring realm. Polybus then named the child Oedipus swollen foot and raised him as his own son. Oedipus was never told that he was adopted, and when an oracle told him that he would murder his father and marry his mother he fled the city believing that the king and queen of Corinth were his parents. In the course of his travels, he met and killed Laius, thinking that the king and his servants were a band of robbers, and thus unwittingly fulfilled the prophecy. Oedipus then continued his traveling, and arrived at the kingdom of Thebes, which was plagued by a horrible beast, they called the Sphinx. The frightful creature frequented the roads to the city, asking travelers her riddle then eating them when they could not answer correctly. Oedipus answered the riddle the Sphinx presented him with correctly, saving the city and becoming a hero. Believing that robbers had killed Laius, and grateful to Oedipus for ridding them of the dreadful Sphinx, the Thebans rewarded Oedipus by making him their king and graciously giving Queen Jocasta as his new wife. Clark 2 The kingdom of Thebes was exultant, and the kingdom prospered under their new ruler, but again a grievous plague fell upon the city. The oracle was consulted to give an answer on how to rid themselves of the plague. The oracle proclaimed that Laius's murderer must be punished in order to rid the city of the dreadful plague. Teiresias, a blind prophet was summoned to help the kingdom with their terrible calamity. He revealed that Oedipus was the murderer and that he was sleeping with his own mother. Oedipus did not believe Teiresias at first but slowly began to realize that it was true. In grief and despair of their incestuous life, Jocasta killed herself, and Oedipus, after learning of her death then blinded himself and was banished from Thebes forever, leaving Creon, his brother-in-law as the new king. "Ever since Aristotle's high praise regarding its structure and characterization in his Poetics, Oedipus Rex has been considered one of the most outstanding examples of tragic drama" Drama, 210. In Oedipus The King, Sophocles creates one of the most intricate characters of Greek drama. A tragic hero, Oedipus's desire for self-discovery and understanding inevitably leads to his tragic downfall. However, self-discovery is not the only characteristic of Oedipus, which contributes to his tragic end. Oedipus's excessive pride hubris combined with his temper also contributed to his demise. Oedipus's desire to gain knowledge is evident from the start of the play. When the priest comes to him for help, Oedipus had already begun to search for answers; he has Clark 3 sent his brother-in-law, Creon to the oracle to find out what should be done. "Well I have sought, and found one remedy; and this I did: the son of Menoeceus, Creon, my brother- in-law, I sent away unto Apollo's Pythian halls to find what I might do or say to save the state" Sophocles, 105. When Creon returned Oedipus began to question him deeply and proclaimed a search for the murderer. "To all you sons of Cadmus I proclaim whoever of you knows at what man's hand Laius, the son of Labdacus, met his death, I order him to tell me all"¦" Sophocles, 106. Oedipus then demands that Teiresias, a blind prophet come to the palace. Surely a prophet can help him save his kingdom. "O you who ponder all, Teiresias, both what is taught and what cannot be spoken"¦save yourself and the state, save me as well. Save everything polluted by the dead. We are in your hands"¦Sophocles, 107. Teiresias, however does not want to be there, "Let me go home; it is best for you to bear your burden and mine, if you will heed me" Sophocles, 107. Oedipus's temper then begins to show. He is not happy that Teiresias does not want to share his knowledge willingly. "I shall omit nothing I understand I am so angry. Know that you seem to me creator of the deed and worker too in all short of the slaughter; if you were not blind, I would say this crime was your work alone." Sophocles, 107. By his persistence for the truth, Oedipus shows that he will stop at nothing for it. "His strong belief that the search for the truth will lead to a successful cleansing of Thebes is juxtaposed with the reluctance on the part of the other characters to deliver Clark 4 their knowledge." Drama, 208. And because of his strong drive for the truth, he gets what he wanted, but at a terrible price to him, his family and his kingdom. The second theme mentioned earlier is that of Oedipus's tragic flaw, hubris. "Oedipus exhibits a vast amount of pride, which seems to border on sheer arrogance"geocities, 1. Oedipus was a leader; he thrived on power and thirsted for control. This parade of pride is evident throughout the entire play. In fact, his pride was so great that when he was put on the spot or told something he did not like he turned from a kind and courteous king to a raging tyrant. For example, after he spoke to Teiresias about the murder of Laius and was told that he in fact was the murderer, he flew into a fit of rage and not only took his wraith out on Teiresias, but he also accused his wife's brother Creon of being a traitor. "O riches, empire, skill surpassing skill in all the numerous rivalries of life, hoe great a grudge there is stored up against you if for this kingship, which the city gave, their gift, not my request, into my hands- for this, the trusted Creon, my friend from the start desires to creep by stealth and cast me out taking a seer like this, a weaver of wiles, a crooked swindler who has got his eyes on gain alone, but in his art is blind. Come, tell us in what clearly are you a prophet?" Sophocles, 108. Oedipus was so wrapped up in his perfectionism that he could not even see that he was making no sense and was going so far as to accuse his own family of treachery. Clark 5 This hubris was finally Oedipus's undoing. Upon realizing that he was indeed the murderer of Laius and he was having an incestuous relationship with his mother he went into a blinding rage and harmed his own body. "He tore the golden brooch pins from her clothes, and raised them up and struck his own eyeballs, shouting such words as these "No more shall you behold the evils I have suffered and done. Be dark from now on, since you saw before what you should not, and knew not what you should.""Sophocles, 117. But even then Oedipus could not let go of his pride. When again faced with Creon, blind and no longer king, exiled from the city of Thebes, he was allowed to vist his daughters on last time. When Creon ordered that the girls be taken back inside, Oedipus reared his ugly head. " Do not take them from me." In which Creon answers, "Wish not to govern all, for what you ruled will not follow you throughout life" Sophocles, 120. Throughout the play Oedipus displayed conflicting feelings as to whether he was more concerned for his people, who were going through a terrible time, or concern for his own past and future. In the prologue, when Oedipus first entered the scene he noticed his people were gathered around the alters and spoke to them with concern about what was going on. He acknowledged that the plague had taken its toll on his people and he assured them that he was taking action to remedy the situation. But then he turned it all around that he was bearing most of the burden, not his people, therefore asking for pity and being selfish. In my opinion, I do not believe that Oedipus was as concerned for his people in the end. He was too caught up in finding the truth about himself and then denying what Clark 6 was told to him. I thou roughly enjoyed this selection. Sophocles was indeed a wonderful playwright. He was able to create a story that will touch everyone in the way that Greek tragedies were supposed to.   

Clark 1 The play Oedipus The King begins with the king and queen of Thebes, Laius and Jocasta. Laius was warned by an oracle that his own son would kill him and that he would marry his mother, Jocasta. Determined to reverse their fate, Laius pierced and bound his...

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Discuss the ways in which a...Discuss the ways in which a novelist explores the condition of the human heart in a novel you have studied. In the novel "The great Gatsby", the novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald explores the conditions of the human heart through relationships that occur in this story. The relationships between Daisy and Tom Buchanan, Myrtle and Tom, Myrtle and George Wilson and Nick and Jordan, all are flawed by the selfishness of individuals and lack of actual love. Fitzgerald compares this to the time era the novel is set in, the 1920's. This was a time of "false" security in that the economy was going to stay high foreverthe crash soon followed and false hope in the American dream. The relationships like this false sense of security looked good, but were built on nothing and so "crashed". The contrast to this was the relationship between Daisy and Gatsby, although not successful, it was built on something more than the selfish and shallow needs of individuals. The first relationship that is explored in this novel is Daisy and Tom Buchanan. Their relationship is one that looks ideal. Tom is the typical hero, one of the most powerful ends at New Haven, hulking muscle mass with a personality to match and very wealthy. Daisy is the very beautiful, soft spoken and witty girl in which everyone loves. Together they perfect examples of the American dream. But as we see at Nick's first visit to the Buchanan's, there is a sense of real love lacking from their relationship, shown by their interactions. "It's romantic, isn't it, Tom?" The relationship is based on money and the social scene of the wealthy rather than actual love for each other. But because they are similar characters in the way that their values are built on money and wealth, they do stay together and why Daisy doesn't marry Gatsby. ""¦retreated back into their money or vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together,"¦" Tom feels the lack of love from his relationship with Daisy, but is too stupid to actually realise it, and because that is the relationship he "should" according to the American dream be in, will never realise it. We see this in his restless behaviour. ""¦Tom would drift on forever, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game." This is what makes Tom have mistresses such as Myrtle Wilson. This relationship replaces what lacks from his relationship with Daisy. ""¦no facet or gleam of beauty, but there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her"¦" Although he does love Myrtle and they are very affectionate, he could never marry her as she is not from a wealthy background. The relationship between George and Myrtle is the raw product of this "American dream." Just as shallow and hopeless as other relationships such as Daisy and Tom's, but without the money to cover it up and make it look pretty. Significantly, they live in the Valley of Ashes, which is the depiction of the wealthy peoples souls, dirty and lifeless. The reason Myrtle and George do stay together for that 11 years is because of security and there being nothing else. The emptiness of this relationship is illustrated by Myrtle's selfishness and uncaring to George's feelings when she starts seeing Tom. The irony to this is that she is drawn to Tom by this false sense of hope that he is going to save her. Even though he often treats her badly, ""¦he broke her nose with his open hand." She is drawn to him because he is wealthy and brawn, everything a woman "should" be attracted to. This selfishness and lack of real love is what stops the relationship between Nick and Jordan from being successful. This was dictated by their unpassionate, almost protective personalities. There relationship was never based on anything except keeping each other company and filling a gap they both had. ""¦so I drew up the girl beside me, tightening my arms." There was no real connection between them, that "girl" could have been anyone. Even though Jordan was obviously hurt when Nick wanted to break up with her, this wasn't because she loved him, but because he surprised her that he would do that, being poorer, and also that she did in fact enjoy his company. Nick was in love with Jordan, but knew he just loved the company and because of the previous events that occurred in his move east, he had had enough and knew he had to leave. The one relationship that was built on something more than the selfish needs of individuals was the relationship between Daisy and Gatsby. They shared something special and were actually in love. ""¦they looked back at me, remotely, possessed by intense life." But again, selfishness of an individual plagued the hopes of this one true relationship. Because Gatsby's wealth status did not fit Daisy's ideals American dream He was forced to leave her in search of money. Because he was so in love, he didn't think twice about the ridiculousness of what he was doing,, and how selfish it was of Daisy to expect him to do so. And even though he did get his fortune, this still did not satisfy Daisy. Tom had "old" money, the lifestyle, the personality. This is what Daisy was used to and married Tom for. "Her voice was full of money." It was something Gatsby would never have as we see by her dislike to Gatsby's parties and so, in the end Daisy stays with Tom. I don't think Fitzgerald is trying to say that there is no hope for true love to succeed, He is just saying that the human heart is easily blinded by such things as the American dream. This is exaggerated at this time era because there was so much hope in the economy and in money, that people lost sight of what would really bring them true happiness. The unsuccessfulness of Daisy and Gatsby's relationship really shows us how much of a shame it is that true love is destroyed by selfishness and I think it is Fitzgerald's warning to the reader, not to be blinded by money and other shallow temptations, as we will end up as depressed as the characters in his novel.   

Discuss the ways in which a novelist explores the condition of the human heart in a novel you have studied. In the novel "The great Gatsby", the novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald explores the conditions of the human heart through relationships that occur in this story. The relationships between Daisy and...

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In the words of Pap,... In the words of Pap, "You think you're better'n your father, now, don't you, because he can't [read and write]?" 2. In Mark Twain's adventure novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck Finn escapes from civilized society to traverse the Mississippi River. Throughout the book, Twain uses various themes such as social ostracism to comment on human nature and its role in shaping society. Sometimes mainstream society is not as right and moral as it believes, and when individuals try to justify it they push away their own humanity. Twain demonstrates this through the various lifestyles, comparing the intellects and beliefs of different social classes, and Huck's conforming to each facet of society. One of the first instances Twain uses to portray sociological exclusion reveals itself in the contrast of lifestyles. Throughout his life both prior to and after his "murder," circumstances expose Huck to opposing ways of life including but not limited to rich vs. poor and simple vs. complex. Personifying middle-class society, Widow Douglass acts as a mother figure for Huck, deeming it her duty to "sivilize" 1 her adopted son, dressing him well and sending him to school. On the contrary, Pap observes that "You've [Huck] put on ["¦] frills" and swears to take him "down a peg" 14. The two family icons pull Huck in opposite directions, but as influential as they may be, Huck knows he does not have a place in either world. If anything, Huck identifies more with the simplicity of Pap's natural way of life than with the materialism of the middle-class of society. Willfully shunning both Pap and Widow Douglas, Huck finds a way to "keep Pap and the widow from following" him instead of moving "far enough off before they missed [Huck]" 31. Furthermore, a contrast of the characteristics of men and women presents itself when Huck attempts a reconnaissance mission as a girl in St. Petersburg. Huck cannot go as himself because society would catch him and return him to what he escapes from, but the way men and women live is different enough that they cannot impersonate each other. Although he practices and thinks he manages, Jim's comment that Huck does not "walk like a girl" 41 does not do it justice. Almost instantly the woman Huck chooses to question sees through his disguise, explaining that His last hope in maintaining his anonymity crumbles when he states his name as "M"”Mary Williams" 44 instead of Sarah Williams, attempting to cover up his mistake by claiming his name was Sarah Mary Williams. After critiquing his performance, the woman remarks that he "might fool men, maybe" 46, emphasizing the mental, physical, and social differences between the two sexes. They differ in the way they throw, catch, and in the way they thread a needle; the only part of his facade that Huck demonstrates well lies in the things country folk know, such as where the most moss grows on a tree. The way a person lives also affects him or her in greater ways, changing the way one believes as well as the way a person thinks. The differences between people encompass a profound array of features including religion and intelligence. Mark Twain uses Jim and Widow Douglas to portray contention between Christianity and superstition. At first, Huck finds himself surrounded by conventional Christian beliefs and what the widow calls "Providence" 8, which refers to the Christian God the term "providence" means the will of God or hand of God. Constantly questioning the faith and the purpose of prayer, Huck ponders its place in his life using the only logic he knows and in the end favors the simpler superstitions of Jim. Leaving Christianity behind, Huck embraces, for example, the philosophy of throwing salt over his shoulder to dispel bad luck and the belief in the ongoing misfortune associated with touching a rattlesnake's skin. Believing that "nothing come of [prayer]" 8, there is no room for doubt in Huck's reasoning to abandon life with Widow Douglas for rafting on the Mississippi"”Huck's beliefs do not belong in that part of society. Similarly, separation exists in the realm of intelligence, specifically between whites and blacks. While on the raft, Huck tells stories of kings and dukes to Jim and his "eyes [bug] out" at the idea of people who "[call] each other your majesty ["¦] your grace ["¦] your lordship" 57. When discussing King Solomon, Jim misses the true meaning of the story despite Huck's attempts to teach him, and Huck thinks, "you can't learn a nigger to argue" 60. Tom Sawyer's gang also illustrates the levels of competence and naïveté in terms of Tom's literary knowledge. Lacking the same interest in books, Huck finds Tom telling him "You don't seem to know anything" and calling him a "perfect saphead" 11 when Huck asks too many questions about Arabs and genies. Huck is not a fool and neither is Tom; however, Huck has "street smarts" whereas Tom possesses a more formal education and more book learning. Try as he might, Huck does not fit into the same part of society. As much as he tries to fit in with the cultures he comes across, he always sticks out. Wherever the wind takes him, Huck seems to conform to whatever social group he immerses himself in. While he stays with Widow Douglas, Huck gradually accepts the rules of the middle-class. At first, he hates going to school, but "by and by [he gets] so [he can] stand it" and "the longer [he] went to school the easier it got to be." 11 Additionally, learned to tolerate the "widow's ways" 11, and although he likes "the old ways best," he likes "the new ones, too, a little bit" 11. However, Pap kidnaps him, and before long Huck adapts "to being where [he is], and [likes] it" 18, until Huck tires of Pap's abuse. Belonging to neither civilized society nor life in nature, Huck strikes out on the river. At each place he stops, he learns to follow in the footsteps of whoever's company he keeps. With each group he happens to join, he soon finds that he has no place in their ranks and withdraws to the river. Wherever he goes, Huck finds a way to fit in only to find that he doesn't belong"”belonging to all societies, yet none of them. The only place where he finds relative peace is on the river. It is the only place where there is nothing to struggle against. Huck is a misfit wherever he goes, rejecting and rejected by mainstream society and every other accepted society that he finds along the river. Throughout his journey, Huck finds different ways of separating himself from society while being a part of it. He sees how quickly life changes and how lifestyles can affect a person. Further set apart by his views, Huck forsakes traditional beliefs for superstition and the balance of luck. Through his journey along the Mississippi River, Huck also understands how much intelligence changes. Feeling no affinity for any aspect of mainstream society he experiences, Huck willingly spurns what he knows as humanity for the society that suits him. At the close of his journey when Aunt Sally makes plans to "adopt [Huck] and sivilize [Huck]," Huck informs the reader that he has no desire to join high society"”"[he] been there before" 220.   

In the words of Pap, "You think you're better'n your father, now, don't you, because he can't [read and write]?" 2. In Mark Twain's adventure novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck Finn escapes from civilized society to traverse the Mississippi River. Throughout the book, Twain uses various themes such...

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John Steinbeck wrote The Chrysanthemums in...John Steinbeck wrote The Chrysanthemums in 1938. Steinbeck, as in many of his novels and short stories, depicts the life of poor, hard working people. In The Chrysanthemums, Steinbeck writes about a farmer's wife living in California. The couple lives on a farm, as many individuals did in that time. Steinbeck describes the physical and mental hardships of families living off the land. In the short story, The Chrysanthemums, Elisa is constantly with held from life because she is a woman. "On every side it the valley sat like a lid on the mountains and made of the great valley a closed pot." Under the lid was Salinas Valley, the home of Henry and Elisa Allen. Henry was a farmer who made a fair amount of money from his crops and stock. Elisa was Henry's wife; she had the hobby of taking care of her Chrysanthemums and the chore of being Henry's wife. In Elisa's garden, the Chrysanthemums grew with the work of her hands and the care of her heart. She seems to enjoy her garden immensely, but actually was trapped in it. She was trapped, because she felt that the only thing she could do was tend her garden. Henry tells Elisa that her flowers were very good last year and some of the yellow flowers were 10 inches across. Henry told Elisa, "I wish you'd work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big." Elisa said, "Maybe I could do it, too. I've a gift with things, all right." Henry changes the subject and starts talking about his livestock that he sold. Henry would not let her try her green thumb on the orchard, because of this, Elisa started to feel the pain of being a woman One day as Elisa was tending her garden, a wagon was passing on the road. Elisa looked up expecting the wagon to pass, but it did not. The wagon pulled up the driveway. Painted on the side of the wagon in sloppy words was, "Pots, pans, knifes, sisors, lawn mores, Fixed". A big, hairy man got out of the wagon and offered to fix her scissors for her. Elisa claimed she had nothing to be fixed. In hope of getting work, the man complimented her flower garden, and as he had planned, the two started talking. They talked about his being on the road. Elisa asked him about where he sleeps and where he lives. "Right in the wagon, ma'am. Rain or shine I'm dry as a cow in there." Elisa said, "It must be very nice. I wish a woman could do such things." The man replied, "It ain't the right kind of life for a woman." This is one instance where Elisa feels trapped as a woman. Elisa asked, "How do you know? How can you tell?" Elisa does not get an answer. He quickly changed the subject and started talking about her flowerbed. She told the man that the reason the Chrysanthemums were so big, is that her mother had planter hands that made plants grow and the hands were passed on to Elisa. He stated that someone down the road needed some Chrysanthemums. She was happy to share her garden; she put a Chrysanthemum bulb into a pot and handed it to the fix"“all man. Elisa gave him special instructions for the care of the flowers. After this, Elisa decides to let him work, on a few aluminum saucepans. Elisa pays the man and he leaves. Now that the man was gone; Elisa ran to the house, tore off her soiled clothes, and took a hot shower. She scrubbed her body, hard and long, with a pumice stone. She needed to rid herself of the fix-all man. Elisa got out of the shower and looked at herself in the mirror. She looked at her naked body, sucking in her stomach and pushing out her chest. Elisa then put on her nicest under garments. She also put on her newest, favorite dress; the symbol of her prettiness. Soon, Henry comes in the room and says, "Why"”why, Elisa you look so nice." Elisa replied, "Nice? You think I look nice? What do you mean by nice?" Henry replied, "I don't know. I mean you look different, strong, and happy." The couple leaves the house to go out to eat. As they were driving down the road, they pass the fix "“all man. She looked back and saw her flower bulbs and sands lying on the road. The man kept the flowerpot. Elisa turned to the window and wept bitterly. Elisa then asked Henry, "Henry can we have wine for dinner?" Then she implied that she might want to go to the fights. Henry had never seen her act this way. Elisa turned up her coat collar so that Henry would not see her crying weakly"”like an old woman. Elisa was a woman who had many conflicts. She was living in her flower garden. Everything that Elisa does not have is put into her garden. Her husband would not let her do any "man's" work on the farm. The fix"”all man did not even acknowledge her want of being out on the road. He said it was a "man's" job. Elisa was repressed and had no way of expressing her feelings, except through the flowers in her garden. She wanted something new to make her feel like a woman. She scrubbed herself so deeply in the shower in hope of cleaning herself anything that was not lady like. Elisa had no where to turn. At the end of The Chrysanthemums, Elisa excepts herself as an old woman. Elisa gave up. She did not care anymore. Elisa will probably be living her life through the Chrysanthemums, until the day she dies.   

John Steinbeck wrote The Chrysanthemums in 1938. Steinbeck, as in many of his novels and short stories, depicts the life of poor, hard working people. In The Chrysanthemums, Steinbeck writes about a farmer's wife living in California. The couple lives on a farm, as many individuals did in that time....

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