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Herman Melville: Similarities in Claggart and Captain Ahab
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Herman Melville was a struggling writer in the mid-1800s, who spent a few years of his life as a sailor and crew member of whaling ships in the south seas. These experiences greatly influenced his writing, causing there to be many similarities among his novels. In two of his works, Moby-Dick, and Billy Budd, Melville seems to have created two characters, Captain Ahab from Moby-Dick, and John Claggart from Billy Budd, who both share some very comparable qualities and experiences. The most prevalent characteristic that links them together is that in their stories, they both possess an unrelenting and somewhat...
feel toward that individual. Their envy is rather complex, but can be simplified in that the reason for Ahab hating the whale Moby-Dick, and Claggart hating the sailor Billy Budd, is that Moby-Dick and Billy both exhibit qualities of magnificence and strength, that Ahab and Claggart do not. Then, in the end, the strength of the whale and Billy of which they both abhor, is ironically the cause of both of their deaths. It is with these connections of spirit, personality, and experience in Captain Ahab and John Claggart, that best display the similarities between these Herman Melville characters.
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Charlotte Perkins Gilman experienced astonishing success...Charlotte Perkins Gilman experienced astonishing success during her life. When she died in 1935, she left behind a legacy of ingenious writing. "Charlotte Perkins Gilman was one of the leading intellectuals of the American women's movement in the first two decades of the 20th century" Gilman, The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Her literary works explore the minds of remarkable and courageous women. Charlotte Perkins Gilman left an impression on society not only through her brilliant writings and social reforms, but also in her own perseverance in overcoming personal hardships. Charlotte was born into the prominent Beecher family Gilman 3. In fact, the illustrious Harriet Beecher Stowe was a great-aunt 3. Charlotte grew up with pride in her family. She recalls "When about fifteen years old I was told of our extremely remote connection with English royalty and I wrote eagerly to my learned father to inquire as to the facts- was I related to Queen Victoria?" 1. However, her father solemnly replied, "It is quite true that you are related to Queen Victoria, but there are a great many persons between you and the throne and I should not advise you to look forward to it" 1. Despite her legendary family ties, Charlotte's childhood was filled with pain, uncertainty, and rejection. Her father abandoned his family shortly after her birth Lane 3. While a young woman, she suffered through a bad marriage that caused her to endure a nervous breakdown 3. It was during this time that Charlotte encountered her first bout with depression; there were many battles to follow 3. Thus, within the formative years of her young life, Charlotte suffered immeasurable pain and agony at the hands of males. This may possible be a motive behind her works based around strong female characters. Throughout her early life, it was apparent that Charlotte was an extremely strong-willed girl. "At the age of sixteen or seventeen she perceived herself as having "no character to be especially proud of: impressionable, vacillating, sensitive, uncontrolled, often loafing and lazy" Lane 57. However, she was determined to change herself into a disciplined, controlled person. Charlotte, an extremely intelligent child, was not able to consistently attend school until the age of thirteen. Living in poverty for most of her life, Charlotte was only able to attend school after the death of a great-aunt who left her an inheritance. Although her teachers were impressed with her aptitude, they soon became frustrated with her resistance to routines that restricted her imagination 59. Charlotte longed to be different. She was driven to defy conditional notions of what young girls "should be." Dr. Studley, a teacher who instructed Charlotte in hygiene, became particularly influential 59. Charlotte instantly converted to "a regime of cold baths, exercise, fresh air, and dress reform 59. She became caught up in the physical culture movement of the late nineteenth century. "In a culture that valued frailty in women, Charlotte took delight and pleasure in her robust health and her strong body" 59. Much of Charlotte's late adolescence was spent nursing her ill mother. She describes her mother as being the "disciplinarian" and this caused problems between the two of them Gilman 12. Charlotte complained that her mother was so "rigorous in refusing all manner of invitations for me"¦ I was denied so often Lane 60-61. Her mother's denials protected her from entering the adult world of men, relationships, and love. Charlotte soon, however, entered this world when she was married to Charles Walter Stetson Gilman 82. In her autobiography, she discusses her mixed emotions regarding Mr. Stetson and marriage. She says, "my mind was not fully clear as to whether I should marry. On the one hand I knew it was normal and right in general, and held that a woman should be able to have marriage and motherhood and do her work in the world" 83. However, there were more cynical times when Charlotte expresses "I felt strongly that for me it was not right, that the nature of the life before me forbade it, that I ought to forego the more intimate personal happiness for complete devotion to my work" 83. Despite her doubts, the two were married in May of 1884. The new Mrs. Stetson expressed that the two were happy together 87. At one point she stated "there was nothing to prevent it but that increasing depression of mine" 87. That "increasing depression" was the early stages of a nervous breakdown looming on the horizon of Charlotte's future. She became weak, tired, and constantly depressed. Even after the birth of a baby girl, Charlotte was unable to pull out of the misery that controlled her life. In desperation, Charlotte and her husband agreed to get a divorce. Charlotte left, and began to recover 97. Looking back, she realizes "if this decision could have been reached sooner it would have been much better for me, the lasting mental injury would have been less" 97. Charlotte endured more scrutiny and criticism when she gave her child to her husband to be raised by him and his new wife, also Charlotte's best friend Lane 134. The media publicized her life even more when she was wed to her first cousin, seven years younger than she Gilman 281. Despite her personal hardships, Gilman established herself as a prominent social critic and feminist writer from the 1890's to 1930's. Many of her literary works resemble struggles encountered in her own life. Charlotte focused on strong-willed, courageous women who were capable of being self-sufficient. In Herland, Gilman creates a utopian society made up of entirely women. She uses this setting to create a culture and political system. It is important to note that the changes taking place in this society are not because of the absence of men, but because of the presence of women. After observing the community created by these women, the narrator, Vandyck Jennings, is convinced to view these women "not as females, but as people" Herland. Herland is said to be Gilman's "radical, alternative vision of collective motherhood" Lane 293. The women living in this utopia have no knowledge of sexuality, similar to Charlotte herself during her early years, while under the protection of her mother. Gilman believed education to be extremely important and she communicated this value in Herland. The children are a main focus in this society. Every action is considered so that its effect will be desirable in the lives of the children. Charlotte Perkins Gilman used this same belief in education to help spark a movement for female education. She believed that with education and training women could be a valuable addition to the workforce and even to the global community De Simmone, internet. Gilman's famous work, The Yellow Wallpaper also resembles struggles that she encountered in her personal life. In the short story, the narrator is suffering from depression and is confined to a small room for resting purposes Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper, 29. In contrast, the narrator's husband is free to leave the house and participate in normal activities. The woman is essentially trapped in her environment. Desperate to find an escape from her terrible reality, the woman finds pleasure in writing 33. She writes about her surroundings, especially the yellow wallpaper that she finds horrid, yet intriguing. She writes about her mundane routine and her conflicts with her controlling husband, John. Writing is one of her only sources of joy, yet she is forced to hide it because of John and Jennie. The wallpaper is symbolic of the boundaries that women are expected to abide by. However, the woman was obsessed with getting beyond the wallpaper. She wanted to "free" the woman trapped inside of the yellow pattern. Eventually, just like Charlotte herself, the woman succeeded. She found victory over all of those who tried to restrict her. It was in that victory that the character and Charlotte found happiness and relief from depression. Through her remarkable writings, as well as her struggles in her personal life, Charlotte Perkins Gilman was truly a woman of great significance. She established herself as one of the leading intellectuals of the American women's movement and a brilliant author to be studied for decades to come. Gilman's works provide an intimate portrait of not only herself, but of all women who wish to be seen as self-sufficient, strong, intelligent citizens who are capable of leaving an impression on their society and the lives of those around them.   

Charlotte Perkins Gilman experienced astonishing success during her life. When she died in 1935, she left behind a legacy of ingenious writing. "Charlotte Perkins Gilman was one of the leading intellectuals of the American women's movement in the first two decades of the 20th century" Gilman, The Living of Charlotte...

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When a Polish-Jewish immigrant slashed his...When a Polish-Jewish immigrant slashed his throat because his workmates could not understand him and tormented him and himself being a victim of racial hatred, Melbourne-born Richard Beynon expressed his feelings, drawn from these experiences, in his prize-winning play- The Shifting Heart. An Italian family, the Bianchis, consisting of Maria, her Momma and Poppa and younger brother- Gino, tries to adapt in Collingwood, Australia, during the 1950s. They live with Maria's Australian husband, Clarry Fowler who too undergoes racial prejudice until Gino dies because of it. The main theme is clear and simple. Beynon wants the reader to realize that xenophobia the fear of strangers and foreigners exists and the various family relationships as stated by Leslie Rees in The Making of Australian Drama: The Shifting Heart relies not on the shocking fact of race-hatred for its major interest, but on its virtually human domestic problem- how to maintain cohesion and solidarity in a family plagued by tensions, whether outside or inside. Whether the hatred bubbled because of the war that killed many ANZACs or because there was an influx of immigrants, racial hatred and xenophobia are expressed subtly and blatantly. Subtle are Leila's friendly neighbour on the right, Mr Wilson shop owner and Clarry's jokes, but such acts differentiate the Bianchis from the society, just like the names "Momma Macaroni" and "Poppa Spaghetti" do e.g. when Clarry joked to Poppa: If they're all like you, Pop, no wonder the Roman Empire packed up. As the play progresses, there is evidence of more hostile attacks like Donny, Leila's husband, calling Poppa a "rotten dago" and from anonymous members of the society which indicates that injustice is generally amongst everyone. The neighbours on the right who never reveal themselves, throw garbage over the fence, children pelt pebbles at the house and Clarry's mother's refusal to meet them. Gino wants to be Australian, but with all this discrimination going on, it prevents him from being accepted. If the prejudice could be measured using a thermometer, it would've burst when Gino is bashed at the dance and when detective Sergent Lukie makes his racist remarks e.g.: I was under the impression that all da"¦ Italians carried knives. Thought it was a national trait. Unbelievable isn't it? Would one ever think that a policeman, a civil servant upholding justice and supposedly unbiased, could say such comment? However, Lukie's comments further highlight Clarry's own prejudice. Clarry is trying to love the family whilst being ashamed of them. Consequently this causes conflict especially with Maria. Also being the typical, carefree Australian bloke, he displays his emotions only through aggressiveness and tries to steer away from problems and responsibilities such as introducing Gino as his wife's brother rather than brother-in-law and not accepting him as a full partner in his business like he promised to because he then has to rename his business to "Fowler and Bianchi": That's not good for business, is it? Foreigners, Momma, Out! Gotta keep it local. His stubbornness in not recognizing his prejudice just makes an already overemotional Maria more frustrated. Becoming even more hysterical after Gino's death, she blames Clarry for not protecting him. We sense that the only thing that keeps their marriage together is the fact that Maria is pregnant for the third time, after two miscarriages- another instance of not wanting her child to grow up in a prejudiced community: But something inside me just wouldn't let me hold onto them. Apart from Clarry and Maria, the play also reveals the marriages of Poppa and Momma, and Leila and Donny. Momma and Poppa have expressed their love subconsciously. Their characters lighten this serious play by adding comical events e.g. when Poppa plays with Momma by trying to lift her up: Clarry bets so momma and me, we have a little wrestle. But she win"¦ oh"¦ she make my heart go"¦ bump"¦ bump"¦ bump"¦ On the other hand, Leila and Donny's relationship is the opposite of Momma and Poppa's. Leila constantly complains about him because he ill-treats her: Nice smack on the jaw I'll get, if I don't watch out. Just the sound of that phrase doesn't indicate a happy marriage. The scene where Donny hits Leila signifies that their marriage is on the verge of a divorce and if the play had have been given a few more scenes, this would most likely have happened. Although Italians are stereotyped to express their emotions openly, there is a great sense of closeness among the Bianchis. Each member loves each other; sometimes overdoing it e.g. Clarry arguing with Maria about overprotecting Gino: Don't you think it's about time you left Gino to look after himself? Jeez, I mean man his age, it's enough to have one mother, let alone two. No matter what outsiders do, the family always have each other for support. In the end, it is this love which changes Clarry hence the play being called- The Shifting Heart. When he touches Gino's blood, he realizes that his thinking of "people are just people" is clouded, for the blood he is touching belongs to his family. Thid change is symbolised after the soft yet hurtful words of Poppa and when Clarry names his newborn baby, Gino: You're the same as us; bad makes the mistakes, who pays? It's the good, same as us. The Shifting Heart has successfully portrayed the theme of xenophobia and racial hatred as well as family relationships. Although racial prejudice will be in Australia's history forever, we have come a long way in tolerance to form a multicultural country. It is the change in people like Clarry who has given immigrants a chance to be treated equally as he states: "JUST THE SAME AS US". However, one lingering thought remains in my mind: everyone is born in the same planet and if it's that hard to accept people just because they're born from another country, what will happen when we find life on Mars?   

When a Polish-Jewish immigrant slashed his throat because his workmates could not understand him and tormented him and himself being a victim of racial hatred, Melbourne-born Richard Beynon expressed his feelings, drawn from these experiences, in his prize-winning play- The Shifting Heart. An Italian family, the Bianchis, consisting of Maria,...

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