I went to watch this performed in Singapore along with my drama friends. It was the biggest mistake that I didn't prepare myself before the performancI went to watch this performed in Singapore along with my drama friends. It was the biggest mistake that I didn't prepare myself before the performance, because I have no idea what the play is about so I spent most of the time trying to guess the plot than actually enjoying the performance. At the end of the show, I was really impressed by the actors and the use of lightning and sound to convey and imply a more complicated story. I picked to write a review of the show for my Drama IGCSE(even if I have never read the play before) and did well in the end. I'm really looking forward to reading this play in the future and maybe own a copy some day along with A View from the Bridge and Of Mice and Men from Steinbeck I read for my Literature exam. ...more
I can't believe I just rated a school book read for academic purposes 5 stars. I first read it in class with my English teacher, I found it super boriI can't believe I just rated a school book read for academic purposes 5 stars. I first read it in class with my English teacher, I found it super boring and uninteresting. However, now that I have to revise it for my finals, I really took it seriously and read it in depth. I found out how this play fully captures me for the whole time reading and analyzing it. The characters, their struggles and problems are so easy to relate to.
Eddie and his hard-working life as a longshoreman who is a tragic hero who has developed so much as a character from the beginning of the play to the end, I think I have never seen such a big character development that is both obvious and subtle at the same time. I remember one amazing essay Miller wrote about Eddie that he is a 'Tragedy of a Common Man', Miller believes that 'the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were', and that it is not the fact that tragic heroes have been royal that makes them resonate with modern audience, it's the fact that they share the same problems as we do today, the same flaws fears and hopes. Alfieri, a witty lawyer who is like a chorus in a greek tragedy and who I personally admire his decision-making and reasons. Beatrice, a warm motherly housewife. Catherine, a rebellious young woman who is yet so innocent and naive when it comes to experiencing the real world. Rodolfo, a carefree blondie who sings, cooks and dances like a professional. Marco, the stereotypical Sicilian macho.
Let's start from my favorite character Eddie. I found Eddie's character so complex yet so simple. He is just an ordinary hard-working longshoreman who has a lovely wife and a niece who he is protective of, but it's more than just that. There are his immoderate love for his niece, his action and other themes that revolve around. As I said, it's complex. I know people say that his immoderate love for Catherine is obviously romantic, but call me weird, I also find it sensibly fatherly. He has a point, when he realizes that it's not right that Rodolfo (an Italian immigrant who escapes from Sicily and stays in his house to work in the States) to from no-where takes Catherine (his niece) away from him (overlooking him because he's not her father and doesn't respect him by asking her out without his permission). I understand that she's not his, not a belonging, not a possession, she will one day has to go and he has to let her. But, she is so young (I know that seventeen back in the fifties is considered to be an adult already) and naive considering her lack of real-life experience. She can do way much better, and that's exactly what Eddie says. He says that if she has to go, then go. But don't end up marrying someone the same class as them as he 'struggles' so much to pay for her to finish high school and learn Stenography and to get a good job maybe in New York (a better neighborhood) but she still ends up working at a plumbing company in the same kind of neighborhood and about to get married to an illegal immigrant who may or may not (we still do not know for sure) be after her American Citizenship. It's complicated, isn't it? We, as readers, have so many different views with the plot and the complex characters. I love it. I can't believe I just said that. But I really love this play. My friends are going to laugh at me. But whatever. I admit that I love A View from the Bridge, a school book, read for academic purposes, that all of my friends are dying to get over with. I think it really is that type of book that leaves me thinking... about the characters, about what happened next, about the real meaning of everything. Whether Rodolfo really loves her, and does there marriage last? What happens to Marco after Eddie is killed? Does he get sent back or get imprisoned in the States while his family starve back in Italy?
It's funny how I don't agree with everyone in my class that believes that Eddie is a homophobic and a creepy guy who loves his own niece. I found Eddie to be such an admirable character. He is a tragic figure. He is an ordinary man, who has ordinary flaws of letting go, of being selfish and greedy, who wants everything for himself. His actions within the play are completely motivated by his own desires, which yes is bad, because it is at the expense of others - it's selfish. However, humanity is selfish, we do things we want or like to do, it's a fact all of us can't deny. I cannot emphasize how much I love the last paragraph of the play in which Alfieri says:
Most of the time we settle for half and I like it better. Even as I know how wrong he was, and his death useless, I tremble, for I confess that something perversely pure calls to me from his memory—not purely good, but himself purely And yet, it is better to settle for half, it must be! And so I mourn him—I admit it—with a certain....alarm.
The paragraph is so simple. It is easy to understand yet it's so deep and meaningful. It sums up the whole play perfectly. It deals with the central conflict in A View from the Bridge, what is right and what is wrong morally and legally should be settled halfway. Being true to what you feel and fight for yourself, doing whatever you want and what's best for you without considering the expense of others, yes is quite admirable but to a certain limit; because people must act halfway to preserve the rules of community and the nature of law, you cannot go rob a bank to give it to the poor (like Robin Hood)because you think it's right morally to share the money to everyone because at the same time it's legally wrong. The same goes for this novel, Eddie's action is wrong morally and right legally. He 'snitches' on Marco and Rodolfo to The Immigration Bureau which he is doing the right thing following the law of the land but the wrong thing in terms of moral decency - betraying his own cousins. Irrationality is also how Alfieri defines acting wholly. The human animal becomes irrational when he acts fully on his instincts—just as Eddie does in the play.
I agree that what he did, snitching on his own cousins was really bad and crossing the line. However, I also understand his desperation to keep Catherine with him and his anger resulting from his stubbornness to accept other people's opinion or reasons and his selfishness to let go. Miller tries to show readers to see that what Eddie does is wrong, loving his own niece and betraying his own cousin. I also heard that this point is linked to Miller's personal life, when he was called to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee to name names of communist sympathizers during the McCarthy Era. Miller, like Eddie, was faced with the problem of choosing to be American or not, to choose whether to name names of people who were doing unlawful acts or to follow the rules of law. However, Miller who was loyal to his fellow artists refused to name names but like Eddie he went against the cultural consensus at the time. Miller, in the play, has changed the scene — rather than the mass culture supporting the extrication of possible communists, Miller chose to script a community that accepted and protected unlawful people. The consequences and eventual repercussions of naming names, for Eddie Carbone, are drastic. Miller used this play to strongly condemn the McCarthy trials and those who named the names of innocent artists.
Therefore, I truly think Eddie is a good guy but who may have been carried away with his own feeling that he doesn't stop to look for a second how his actions affect others and himself. Nevertheless, if we look over the political aspect and into the familial perspective he reminds me of my father. He looks out for Catherine's sake, because he works hard to raise her into a young well-educated lady, she deserves better than a happy-go-lucky lad like Rodolfo. I have nothing against him, but in terms of marriage, Catherine should be more serious about what she's getting herself into and considering if he is good enough.. what's the rush? They practically go out for what? 6 months? I understand that she's trying to protect Rodolfo from getting 'snitched' and having to leave the States and her devastated and heartbroken. However, Rodolfo's lack of seriousness about life as a whole concerns Eddie, and I mean, whose parents wouldn't? Even if Eddie is not Catherine's father, but he is somewhat really similar, he raise her since she was young, he promised her mom to take care of Catherine on her deathbed, I mean there's a such strong connection between them that it's almost like father-daughter thing. Miller tries to make us think that Eddie loves Catherine more than just a niece, mentioning Eddie and Beatrice's sex life or lack thereof and making Beatrice looks like she feels the immoderate love and ultimately get jealous. I'm pretty sure if Beatrice is Catherine's real mother and Eddie is her real father; realistically, Beatrice should understand where Eddie's hate for Rodolfo is coming from and even go on his side. But, Miller attempts to mix up Beatrice's emotion and thought to spice up the play, he makes Beatrice a little jealous about her husband loving the niece too much, and make her acting all sad because they don't have sex at all for months. Sometimes in a play, I can feel that Beatrice does not really love Catherine that much, I can feel that she's trying to push Catherine away, persuading her that Catherine is a 'woman' now and can think for herself, and that she is not a 'baby' Eddie can control anymore. It's like her advice benefit her more (getting rid of Catherine and finally having Eddie to herself)than it benefits Catherine(to stand up for her rights). I personally think that parents would naturally look out for their child's sake right? And if the boy is no good they would come in and at least warn us? Like my father and mother would do that if they think whoever I love or going out with is not good enough, they will always come in and make it their business. Because actually, it is. They have the right to say whether they like the person we're going out to or not, whether their decision matters is another story.
Another fact that I am sure Eddie does not love Catherine more than a daughter/niece is because at the end of the play, instead of him accepting Catherine apology, he completely ignores her and turns to Beatrice and says 'Oh B' and Beatrice answers him 'yes, yes'. It's like a reconciliation, a repair of their torn relationship. The last minute of Eddie's life, he is reminded of who actually matters most - his wife. Of all the people, Beatrice is the only person who never leaves him and who constantly get dominated by Eddie but still stays by his side. By her saying 'Yes, yes', it's like she forgives him of whatever he does her wrong and it is emotional indeed. I was so in to the play at that moment!
Another point is that when Catherine asks him if she can work at the plumbing company and he is not happy about it because the company is in the same neighborhood; despite his protectiveness and despite the fact that he doesn't like the company, he stills lets her. There's a certain limit to his protectiveness. I think one of the most memorable stage direction Miller writes is somewhere here, I remember I read it and I can actually feel Eddie's emotion right out of the page. When Eddie sees Catherine's face after he denies to let her work at the plumbing company (this is one of the stage direction):
'After a moment of watching her face, Eddie breaks into a smile, but it almost seems that tears will form in his eyes'
Personally, I found the stage direction beautiful. I know that one of the key to understand the play is to read the stage direction, I have to admit it, I have never really cared despite how many times my English teacher tells me to do so. Now I know how much it matters. It shows the complexity of the character's emotion. You could look at it and think both ways. Eddie is in love with this girl, why is he this emotional if he doesn't love her romantically and more than just a niece. Com'on people! He loves her. But not in a pedophile way. He loves her like a daughter. He reminds me of a father-figure, I mean think about it, of course there must be a connection, a bond, love and care in the relationship if you stay and live with someone for so long. For instance, like Katniss and Rue. They know each other in the arena for what how long? 2 days? I can't even remember. But I remember the connection, the bond between them. As Katniss, when Rue dies, she cries. It's perfectly simple. When you are so close with someone, when you live with them, of course there's a emotional attachment. You feel like you don't want to lose them, you don't want to let them go. I understand that for Eddie's circumstance, it's not like Catherine is going to die, but by letting her go do the job or even marrying Rodolfo, it's like pushing her away when he loves her so much (like a daughter!). Imagine yourself in his place, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be acting like Eddie.
And oh my gosh. I nearly forgot to mention how much I love Alfieri. He is truly the best Greek Chrous ever. He is not only witty but straight-forward and clear. He is truly the so-called 'bridge' the title is referring. He was born in Italy but left since he was twenty five; therefore, he has one foot in Italy and another in America, the two culture's ideas of what's right or what's wrong are at war inside him. This makes the story interesting, when you can look at it two ways, and there are obvious reasons to prove either side of the story. It makes the argument more colorful and intriguing.
Wow, I realize how carried away I am with this review, it is so long. I hope I'll do well on my English Literature paper and have this much to say! ...more
The Road is truly unpredictable and mesmerizing. I started this book without thinking I was going to finish it because it seemed like a lot of hard woThe Road is truly unpredictable and mesmerizing. I started this book without thinking I was going to finish it because it seemed like a lot of hard work. I am thankful that I did in the end because it teaches me a lot and makes me appreciate how important resources like food and water are to our lives. It also reminds me that love is a powerful thing; love is what keeps people alive, the ability to love is what makes us special. Without love, we are nothing but living creatures that exist just for the sake of survival, killing each other savagely like animals with no compassion or sanity.
The Road is a story of hope. It doesn't matter if the world comes to the end and everything is gone. Civilization is lost and humanity is washed away. At the end of the day; where there is hope, where there is love - there is life.
There are so many questions that I kept asking this book throughout the whole journey and The Road is the first book that left all of my questions unanswered. I first found it frustrating because as a reader, it's always essential to know what is going on in order to sympathize and feel emotionally connected to the characters. However, McCarthy intentionally left this up to our imagination and this idea of doubt creates suspense and terror to what might happen in the world without civilization.
We are brought into this post-apocalyptic world without the knowledge of why it has come to this state of devastation, why there is no living thing or even why the whole surrounding is covered with piles of ashes. One can assume that it is some kind of nuclear explosion that leaves the place dark and ashy or maybe a gigantic asteroid hit the Earth. But none of the idea mentioned is confirmed anywhere in the book, there is no explanation at all. All there is to know is the father and the boy decide to head South because they believe it is warmer and better there, using the road as a path. We don't even know if this is true, or is there really no such hope after all. We learn about the mother of the child who chooses to end her life somewhere in between, the ultimate decision symbolizes the surrendering of hope. When one does not believe or has faith in living, one's soul already dies resignedly.
In terms of the writing itself, I found out that McCarthy excluded the use of quotation marks and sometimes the apostrophe. I didn't know the purpose of it at first but thought it was interesting. Until I realized in the end that the lack of apostrophe signify the lawless society, and the lack of quotation marks signify the numbness of the reality. In return, I was not connected or feel anything towards the characters directly because there was no proper conversation in the book. All of it was not in quotation marks which indicate that the words were not directly spoken and maybe this is all just in the head. Emotionless and lifeless of what is supposed to be dialogues empower the sense of deadliness and the lack of motivation or inspiration. Furthermore, the dialogues of the two characters are repetitive and really similar to the one before. The child seems to ask the same questions but in different words and the father seems to answer the same thing over and over again. This excessive repetition - although indicates the assurance of hope - ironically stresses the sense of uncertainty; after too much repetition, the father's answers lost its reassuring sense and credibility. I learnt after finishing this book that frustration is normal in circumstances like this when you don't specifically have the answers to everything you seek and look for and everything is all but clear. Things no longer have to make sense in order in order for it to happen.
I have to admit that the story line is not very eventful nor is it action-packed. I'm still surprised I stuck to it until the end without being bored to death. The moral of this book is that life is unpredictable and uncertain. We shouldn't set so many plans and expect it to happen all the time. We should take life as it comes, sometimes it's okay not to have answers to every questions as long as we are breathing, whatever happens, will happen. All we need to keep in mind is to keep believing and hoping that all of this will be okay in the end and that it's better to die fighting than not doing anything at all. The Road is overall a story of survival, love and hope. Depressive, dark and unsettling....more
My friend told me today about Ernest Hemingway.. I've heard of him before on Goodreads but completely ignored his work.. I feel really bad now since wMy friend told me today about Ernest Hemingway.. I've heard of him before on Goodreads but completely ignored his work.. I feel really bad now since when I not only found out how interesting the plots are (all of them I think, are about war and historical fiction which I am so in to) and how his writing captivate not only the readers but the moments. I'll be buying a book from him soon and see if I like it before I purchase other books. ...more