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October 03, 2023, 07:32:00 am

Author Topic: Literature Close Analysis Essay Submission Feedback Thread.  (Read 64224 times)  Share 

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Re: Literature Close Analysis Essay Submission Feedback Thread.
« Reply #90 on: February 25, 2019, 05:58:00 pm »

Can anyone help me with this practise essay paragraph for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof relating to the meaning of mendacity explored in both texts. My teacher says I should add in more evidence, make the construction explicit, and establish the key relationship between the two texts more explicitly.

While Williams portrays Maggie as the driving force behind the narrative pushing to rekindle her relationship with Brick, Brooks replaces her role merely as a housewife to question whether Maggie is being true to the morals of 1950s America. Williams, through Maggie’s naturalistic acting style, provides insight to her manic disposition where she is torn between her desire to placate Bricks’ parents by having children, as depicted through the playwright’s colloquial use of language directing Maggie to “straighten an eyelash,” and her own goal to re-establish Brick’s tolerance for her. The stage direction illustrating Maggie “ris[ing] fretfully saying: there’s so much light in the room” is erased in Brooks’ adaptation where he makes it clear to denizens during the 1950s that Maggie’s role to fit in with society’s expectations is hindered due to her insecurities about children through her aggravated tone of voice where she snaps “I would’ve sent sister woman a bill for these stockings.” The bright, almost blinding light set in the film’s adaptation questions Williams’ adamant revisitation of how the absence of a naturalistic “comfort of light” creates “ghosts” to haunt the characters and erases the human “extremities of emotions.” Although Williams vehemently draws attention to Maggie’s representation as a struggling woman during the 1950s, the director focuses on the film’s artifice of a gleeful Maggie, as directed by the 1950s Production Code, to illustrate the “light” side of life to adhere to audience’s desire to escape the truth of reality. By accentuating Maggie’s decision to “turn out the rose-silk lamp,” Williams appeals to theatre audiences who expect the playwright to erase the concept that materialistic possessions like the “rose-silk,” a prop representing the upper social class the characters are in, does not alleviate any concerns prompted by 1950s society’s “system” of “mendacity,” which Brooks appeals to. The playwright’s enthusiastic portrayal of Maggie taking on the dominant role by connotating that “tonight [they’re] going to make [her pregnancy] lie true” is questioned by Brooks’ adaptation. He reaffirms 1950s audience’s expectations for Brick to take control by demanding that Maggie “lock the door.” The sensual atmosphere combined with Bricks’ smooth tone evoke the audiences to feel contented with the ending although it is not “true” as Williams aims to present. Theatrically, Williams adheres to her audiences who expect Maggie to take on the superior role in her relationship with Brick whereas Brooks sticks to the gender roles of the 1950s to insinuate that no women has the right to question her place in the world.

(I feel this may be too long but am unsure how to shorten)

Thanks in advance!


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Re: Literature Close Analysis Essay Submission Feedback Thread.
« Reply #91 on: November 08, 2019, 06:29:23 pm »
Hey this is an essay I wrote for The Passion by Jeanette Winterson (Section B) - passage 1 : pg16-17 (Henri talking about the King and Queen and Bonaparte), passage two : pg60-61 (Villanelle has just met the Queen and can't find her at the casino), passage three : pg114-115 (Henri and Villanelle visit the Lady of Means on the canal)
Any feedback is really appreciated!!

Jeanette Winterson views passion as a transformative yet destructive experience that influences the life that one lives. Henri’s and Villanelle’s intertwined stories of their own passion and lives createthe background for Winterson’s discussion of a larger idea; that passion is what makes one’s existence unique and complete, inclusive of both the tender joy and intense disillusionment that passion may bring.

The Passion is a collection of stories that unfold in a non-linear way, this uncertainty of time bringing about of a disjointed, yet paradoxically, so elegantly crafted and flowing narrative. The lives of both Henri and Villanelle are filled with uncertainty; in passage one, Henri’s future is unfolding in a way that is both surprising and unsure for the reader. Beginning in a small village in France, the need to ‘rely on gossip’, potentially untrue stories, is highlighted by Henri’s comment ‘we might have been living on the moon’. Further depiction of his village’s separation from the rest of the world is seen as ‘no one really knew what was happening except that King and Queen were imprisoned.’ the lack of a defining ‘the’ before ‘King and Queen’ may suggest here that the young Henri saw the rulers of France as elusive and distant, with this lack of proper grammar acting as a defining characteristic of naive, of which this young Henri has plenty. From passage one, Henri’s future is so unclear, that in passage three he is almost unrecognisable in how he has grown and changed. The future’s tendency to be unpredictable is stark between these two passages, as Henri has gone from a young country boy in France, to serving in the army for many years, losing friends, falling in love, and has ended up exploring the ‘city of mazes’ with Villanelle. Yet, this uncertainty of the future is contrasted by the ‘Lady of Means’ as the ‘old creature’, unrecognisable now from her past as a wealthy, respected woman, foreshadows the coming events of Henri’s and Villanelle’s lives. Her wisdom adds a sense of magical realism to this point in the novel, as she comments knowingly on Villanelle’s life (prior to returning to Venice); ‘You have been in danger and there is more to come but you will not leave again’. This coupled with the warning to Henri; ‘beware of old enemies in new disguises’, foreshadows the climactic scene in which Henri kills the cook, an ‘old enemy’, now disguised as Villanelle’s husband. This fortune telling creates a sense of direction for both Villanelle and Henri’s futures, however, they still lack the certainty that one may desire.

As the knowledge of one’s future is generally not in reach, so too is the nature of passion; elusive yet encompassing. Winterson depicts Villanelle’s and Henri’s passions as simultaneously distant, yet so close to reach within the passages. Passage one depicts Henri’s passion for Bonaparte, as ‘we called him our Emperor long before he took that title for himself’; his loyalty for the man is unwavering and immense already at this point in the novel. Yet, when the time comes for which Henri may meet Napoleon, the subject of his passion becomes elusive as he writes solemnly, ‘so this was it, no glory for me, just a pile of dead birds’. The disappointment within Henri’s voice sparks an empathy within the reader as the young boy is left to deal with the cook, rather than meet the one he had so desired to meet for so long. Passage two also depicts passion as elusive; Villanelle’s first encounter with the ‘Queen of Spades’ is followed by an urgent desire to see her again. Surrounded by the fantastical celebrations of the night in Venice, Villanelle’s eyes are not focused on the ‘faces and dresses and masks’, rather, they are ‘begging for a sign’ of the ‘object of my love’ who ‘was not there. She was nowhere’. The urgency within Villanelle’s voice is at its highest at this point, her desperation underscored by flashes of images as she so desires to see the woman again. Thus, this passion of Villanelle’s, the ‘Queen of Spades’, is also elusive on this night where she is so desperate to see her again, just as Henri was, Bonaparte. Perhaps Winterson sees passion as a desperation, and ardent desire that encompasses one’s waking life at that moment; nothing else matters but the subject of one’s attention.

When passion is so elusive, the drive is only intensified; in absence, passion grows, yet, in presence, passion may be destructive. Henri’s disillusionment that he experiences having served Napoleon for many years, later in the novel, highlights how passion can enlighten one to the joys of life, yet also crush one. ‘Passion that comes later in life is hard to bear’; Henri views his passion as expired, as he states ‘if the love was passion, the hate will be obsession’. This obsessive nature Henri begins to have with Bonaparte, towards the end of the novel, has also been foreshadowed in passage three, as he is warned of ‘old enemies in new disguises’. As Henri kills the cook, his life is turned completely; this is the catalyst for his end in the story at San Servolo, as having served eight years in the wars, the cook is the first man he killed. This event is what leads him to turn bitter towards his previous passion, which ends up destroying him in the end as he is deemed insane and sent away to live in the mental asylum. A similar situation can be seen with Villanelle, as she notes that she has been ‘relieved almost’ at her lover’s absence, wondering ‘is it because she will return that I take pleasure in being alone?’. While being with the ‘Queen of Spades’ does act as the causation for greater depths of passion, Villanelle’s separation from the elusive woman, as also seen in passage two, is what makes the time spent with her so much sweeter. Thus, it seems passion thrives when it is not fulfilled, left to long for the other; unsatisfied and hungry.

Through her novel The Passion, Winterson has commented on the complexities and nuances of passion and its influence on one’s life. Henri is destroyed by his passion for Bonaparte, while Villanelle is set free when she willingly chooses to give up her passion for the ‘Queen of Spades’, as she is ‘wholly given over to selfishness’. Passion and the future are uncertain; they may pan out in a million different ways, yet the one way that is does end up is what matters. Through The Passion, Winterson has subtly and indirectly conveyed her view that struggle, disappointment and disillusionment is what makes one human, while the passion one experiences is what makes it all worth it, in spite of everything.