Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Understanding Literature in light of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales and Lu Xun's A Diary of a Madman

I would like to cite the ideas of literature as they were employed in these two literary texts: Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and Lu Xun’s A Diary of a Madman.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is a canonized literary work in the 1300’s that tells twenty-four individual tales of pilgrims. Its richness in literary devices (i.e. the use of fabliau, allegory, romance fable among many others), having delivered by different voices, also brings a kind of isolation to Chaucer himself as the writer and as the narrator.  It also presents varying thematic concerns that associates this classical work to be also value-laden in characteristic, although, arguably, some of the tales discord values and present other human tendencies. Hence, how we also classify literature as an imitation of life is represented in Chaucer’s work, too.  
 A Diary of a Madman is rich in cultural and historical context as Lu Xun’s daunting imageries in his story delineates feudal values that were present in China (the main character having felt that the people in his community were conspiring to eat him is a representation of corruption of the community adopting the said values). Although he used the Chinese vernacular language as his medium in writing, it does not entirely suffice the connotations in the story. Lu Xun’s short story gave a timely release in the middle of uprisings against oppression and foreign imperialism, thus, we also see literature as reflection of the writer’s life magnifying his view of the struggles occurring in his time.
The inherent characteristics imposed by the ideas that I learned about literature gave more room to understanding its variedness and receptiveness to conditions: as an imitation of our perception of what is real and unreal, as the product of the writer, as an embodying element of form, and also as a conduit that transcends into others far from its creator.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Dead Stars in light of psyche and mores LITT 503 entry

Paz Marquez Benitez has exemplified the presence of psyche in her brilliant short story, Dead Stars. It presents a prevalent struggle of love in the time that it is certain and still as it exists in two worlds; a world in the commune of conventions and expectations and a world that is unimpeded by the first.  Psyche as ‘faculty of human thought, judgment, and emotion’ (Saunders, 2007) could be elaborately described in the persona of Alfredo Salazar who was to be wedded with Esperanza. His untimely meeting with Julia Salas had provoked a seemingly temporary liking towards her at first, posed subliminal and fleeting emotions that caused him to be caught in a stir. Bound by a devoir that he felt not just to Esperanza but to his family and to people who knew them, he married his fiancĂ©, but remained far and deep in his unwavering thoughts of Julia Salas. How his decision was made could not be ostracized in the presence of customs and conventions of his time (mores). His engagement with Esperanza funnelled into crowding bourgeois opinions and imperatives from people who knew them, thus, kept their relationship narrow and mindful of what others might think of them. This is evident in Alfredo’s argument with Esperanza about her sister, Calixta. The pressure of the news about her sister living with someone when the two were not married evinced on their status as an engaged couple that was slowly turning into a dysfunctional one.

Dead Stars reflects a socio cultural factor that does not alter but organically contributes to our being, and as it gradually changes over time, we inextricably adapt to it. In the end, the staggering feeling of Alfredo in realizing that his love towards Julia Salas was lost when they met years after they parted ways, divulges his unconscious fitting in time as he was consciously thinking about his love for her; it was a non-progressing feeling as what was left to him was just a memory of his passion and his youth shared with Julia Salas.