This is one of those books that I pick up and read when I begin to feel lost in the world. Following Hector on his search for happiness makes me feelThis is one of those books that I pick up and read when I begin to feel lost in the world. Following Hector on his search for happiness makes me feel more grounded in who I am as a human being and it helps me to practice gratitude more often for what I have. Quick read, love to read it especially while traveling. ...more
While many critics found The Lover by Marguerite Duras difficult to read due to its formating, I found it to be an insightful look into a woman's psycWhile many critics found The Lover by Marguerite Duras difficult to read due to its formating, I found it to be an insightful look into a woman's psyche. The Lover would jump through different memories and moments in Duras life and change from names to pronouns, and while this seemed to confuse many others, I think that it allowed the reader a greater look into how Duras reacted to different situations and how she felt about them by seeing how each thought led to another.
As a woman myself, I know how one's mind can easily jump onto different subjects provoked by other ideas or memories. This happens to Duras throughout the novel, producing her unique layout. The reader can see what pains her character, makes her happy and what led up to a certain event by seeing where each new thought leads her. This provides a very sincere and natural recount of Duras past and how she felt during all of it. One of the most interesting uses of this format can be seen in the middle of the novel where Duras gives a short biography of two women she had known and heard of. Duras talks about the women's appearances, their personalities, and their lives. At first glance, there does not seem to be any connection betwen the two women and Duras, but by inserting these mini biographies carefully into the text, readers can relate these women's actions back to what Duras was thinking and how they were significant in Duras' life.
What also confuses many readers is how Duras will suddenly refer to people in her stories only through pronouns, such as "she," "him," "they," etc. While reading through these parts of the novel, many readers begin to get confused as to who Duras is referring to. However, if read carefully, one can see that Duras is really referring to herself through all of these moments as "she." It is officially proven to be so on the last page of the novel where she is on the phone with her Chinese lover, and she identifies herself as "she" and the lover as "he," proving that she had been talking about herself all along. The reason as to why she does this can be seen as a way of coping with certain memories. This novel presents Duras at her most vulnerable than any of her other novels.
I do not think that this piece of literature was intended to be a feminist novel as much as give insight into a young girl's adolescent life and what women go through at that age mentally and emotionally. While Duras had a particularly unique experience, she addresses the feelings of her first encounter with a man she desired, how she learned to understand this desire while seeing how her female friends evokes desire in others. She also offers her experience on how she interacted with a family she only felt obligated to love, and how she let go when she lost the only brother she really cared for. The themes of love and desire in the eyes of a young girl introduce a unique perspective that differs from many other forms of writing, which give a new insight into the mind of a girl becoming a woman.
Although it may seem overwhelming at first, I highly suggest reading this book in one sitting. By doing that, I feel like I was really able to get into the writing and understand Duras' train of thought and how she was led from one thought to another. I think this was a beautifully written book and highly recommend it to those who are willing to take on the challenge....more
**spoiler alert** What I found to be the most striking theme of the novel was empathy. It was so important, in fact, that author Phillip K. Dick made**spoiler alert** What I found to be the most striking theme of the novel was empathy. It was so important, in fact, that author Phillip K. Dick made the characteristic the thing that ruled the main character, Rick Deckard's, life. Rick obtains his amnesty towards androids from his electric sheep. Rick’s hatred for his electric sheep stems from the belief that it cannot feel any love for him, even though he cares so much for it. The bitterness in the relationship makes Rick’s job as a bounty hunter easier for him because he believes that other androids, like his sheep, are incapable of experiencing empathy or any kind of feeling towards human beings such as him. Therefore, Rick believes that they are not worthy of life if they cannot appreciate other forms of life.
Rick begins to question his beliefs on empathy when he finds that some androids can be empathetic while many humans could be lacking it. Such examples of these can be found in the characters of the android Luba Luft and Dave Holden. Luba Luft, the opera- singing android seems to portray empathetic emotions before she is killed. Her love for a painting and her sort of connection to it causes Rick’s own beliefs to be shaken on whether Androids can have such powerful emotions and attachments for other things. Dave Holden, a bounty hunter who loves to kill, seems to lack empathy for any creature, android and human alike. Rick finds this behavior and attitude extremely disturbing as Dave’s love of killing resembles the exact image of what and android was to society. The realization about levels of empathy in androids in comparison to humans left Rick’s black- and- white interpretation of society as a grey blur. This causes his to even question whether he is an android or not at one point in the book, and if he felt empathy or is he had merely been trained to seem to empathize as many androids in hiding had been trained to do.
Rick’s confusion about who’s life is worth living and whose is not leads to the bigger question regarding reality; if empathy can be felt through the use of an empathy box, is what happens in the empathy box real? And if not, what is? In the social life of DADOES, the only way people can experience empathy is through a box and observing a religion known as Mercerism. However, the reader slowly discovers that the world of the empathy box has very real consequences for the other world as well and that maybe the world of Mercer is just as real as the world that Rick Deckard lives and walks around in. As the novel progresses, Mercer’s life and Rick’s begin to collide and Mercer even begins to make appearances in Rick’s world. This fusion of worlds becomes complete in the end of the novel when Rick becomes Mercer himself and experiences what Mercer went through when battling his way up the hill. It is through this that Rick is able to really experience empathy and what it means to be empathetic for another being. What made this moment so important in the book was that, although Mercerism was proved to be wrong in the novel, it did not stop Rick from feeling for Mercer, and person that was not real all along, much like the androids. Rick proves his transformation as a man when he takes in the toad android, not caring if it were real or not. It was due to his experience as Mercer that made him capable of feeling a different kind of empathy that he was incapable of at the beginning of the novel. ...more
I personally had a hard time getting into Jorge Luis Borges' "The Gospel According to Mark." Although he wrote it in a time where more people were eduI personally had a hard time getting into Jorge Luis Borges' "The Gospel According to Mark." Although he wrote it in a time where more people were educated when it came to understanding the Bible, having grown up in a not as religious family, I had a hard time following what Borges' message was that he wanted to send to his readers. Borges' created a character who represented a modern- day Christ of sorts and how corrupted the American public had become. While he had wanted to portray a story displaying the moral corruption of the American society, he created a story that only a small percent of today's modern society would be able to understand due to the thorough and complex allusions to the Bible. By limiting his message to only a fraction of today's society, his book fails in reaching society as a whole and changing the way Americans think.
This book however did have a powerful message to send, once one found the meaning behind the symbols woven throughout it. The main character, Baltasar, had many shared characteristics with Christ; he was able to heal, he read the teachings of the Bible to spread the word of God, and in the end, was even crucified by the others on the ranch. Borges' intention behind Baltasar and his tragic death was to show society how nothing had changed, and that society was corrupted and needed to put the teachings of the Bible into action as opposed to merely reading them. ...more
Although Langston Hughes' "On the Road" was extremely short, it was filled with archetypes that it hit a reader harder than other short stories. By inAlthough Langston Hughes' "On the Road" was extremely short, it was filled with archetypes that it hit a reader harder than other short stories. By introducing a different perspective on such an idolized figure such as Jesus Christ, Hughes makes the reader re-think the purpose of the piece. Rather than placing Christ in the typical "savior" archetype, Hughes portrays Him as a bum on the road heading off to Kansas City and all of the scandals it offers. This unique placement of Christ makes the readers question who is really "Christ- like" archetype; if Christ Himself, isn't who is? Hughes did this on purpose to show the readers the "lightbulb moment" that many white Americans of the day, such as the Reverend who closes the door on the Sergeant, should have had when questioning who rights to freedom really belonged to. Sergeant's pulling down the church represented the fall of society and how it had destroyed the original ideals of the Bible.
Many times in books that make references to Christian mythology, the author forgets that they will limit their own audience when they make too many specific allusions to the Bible, making it difficult for many to understand. However, Hughes avoided this by providing a single, extremely powerful figure in a alternate archetype. This made the single allusion hold more power, for readers did not have to struggle and Wikipedia everything and person in order to understand the message Hughes was trying to send....more