Do we make the moments in our lives or do the moments in our lives make us?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crimes and Strange Forms of Punishment

Do we make the moments in our lives or do the moments in our lives make us?

Crime and Punishment and The Stranger are brilliant examples of when a moment can change everything, but they each have different opinions of punishments.

In Crime and Punishment Raskolnikov makes a conscious decision to kill the pawnbroker and in the heat of the moment also kills her innocent sister. But his punishment comes as he over obsesses the crime and cannot escape the guilt he feels for the murder. It is only after he confesses and is punished by society that he feels peace. Raskolnikov defines himself by his action and it is in that self definition that makes me believe that the moment of the second murder made him, and not the other way around. We cannot be sure if he would have been consumed by his guilt if he had not committed the second murder, but if he would have, as I like to hope he would, I would believe that he made the moment that made him.

In The Stranger however, Mersault does not appear to feel any guilt of the murder he committed and when asked to speak for his own defense, Mersault can only say it was because of the heat of the sun. Mersault is one of those characters we don't ever truly understand. We go through a part of his life and yet he is still a stranger to us. With his murder it seems as if he is only effected by the punishment society gives him. He sits in his cell after given the death penalty and wishes for more time. And when he finally comes to terms with his death he only wishes to not be alone at the end. But does that mean that the murder created any change in Mersault?  And if it did was it because he acted on the murder or because "it was plausible that he had intent"?

While we barely water ski on the surface of the mind of one of these men and deep-sea into the brain of the other, the question is applicable to both. These men both commit a cruel crime that SHOULD change the way they should perceive the world and themselves, but if they intended to kill does that mean that they made the moment or that the moment made them? That's still the big question

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Prince Hal's journey

Do you ever wonder if we make the moments in our lives or if the moments in our lives make us? In Henry IV Part One Prince Hal is a character that we see change and it is in that change from a juvenile delinquent to a knightly king that helps justify the circle.

Prince Hal had his motives for hanging with the pub crawalers; he expected that it would make him look better in the eyes of his future subjects. He made those moments with the 'outcasts', but that doesn't mean those moments didn't make an impact. In Henry V Prince Hal becomes an incredible king whose subjects respect and adore. But the quetion still remains if it was because he chose to spend time with the ordinary people, or because his time spent with them impacted him for the better.

Do we make the moments in our lives or do the moments in our lives make us?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Oedipus' eyes

Do our pasts mold our futures? Oedipus' past certainly molded his. As a baby he was sent to die, but instead of death he found a new home, unaware of his true origin. If he had been aware of his past, his future would had been different. For instance, Oedipus had heard his fate back in the land he was raised in, so he left to avoid his fate. He turned down being king because he wanted to stay as far away from his adopted mother as possible, but he was unaware and thus unable to control his fate. If his past had been reveled to him earlier he could have been able to avoid it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Importance of the Journey

The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”

~Don Williams, Jr.

It is the journey that molds us into the people who step foot on to our destination. There is no greater example of this that Odysseus. He traveled twenty years before reaching his home, and when he landed there he was a different man than when he left.

The Odysseus who was hubris and proud during his battle with Polyphemus quickly learned from the negitive repercussions that he had to change, and he humbled himself and became a beggar. The eggotistical man who left Ithica and his family would not have been able to dress in rags.  He had to have learned.

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”

What does this mean for us? How can our journies impact us? I think that in order for our pasts to influence us we have to have pasts worthwhile. We have to live our lives with no regrets, fall down and learn as we climb back up. Odysseus failed several times, and it is because he fell he grew, and I think we can too.

The Past in the Blossoms

There is something to be said about the beauty in the blooming of a cherry blossom. The fragrance wafts over everything in it's path and brings a smile to the face of passer bys. In The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov there is a motif of the struggle between clinging to the past and realeasing it. Lyubov Ranevskaya is almost unable to leave the orchard of her childhood due to the memories emmbedded there, but in the end those memories are forced to be released and she is forced to let her past remain in the past.

We see this motif greatly in the charecter Firs, who lives mainly in the past. He lingers on the moments he can barley remember and they not only influence his present, but his future as well. At eighty-seven years old he has very little of his life yet, but what we see of it is influenced by when their "luck ran out"(38). His past has molded so much of who he is that he is incapible of releasing it.

In the final scene of the play Firs is the one left behind, and because he remains in the orchard, his ultimate wish to be left in the past comes true. He is left with all of the memories the orchard held and all of the things he cherished so dearly.

But why does it matter? What is the purpose of it all if the people he worked so hard for his entire life abandoned him on his death bed? Lyubov Ranevskaya went back to a man who left her, and her step-daughter lost her job. Did the orchard change them? I like to belive they did.