Monday, March 21, 2011

Reading blog

The poems from this week all relate to a few common themes that are seen in the short story by Ernest Hemingway. Success, death as well as the truth are all themes that are found in The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber. Emily Dickinson is able to portray different aspects of life throughout her many poems. These portrayals speak about not only what a person encounters in life but the emotions that go along with these encounters. The readings tie together in way that The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber is able to exemplify a man who experiences the variety of life aspects portrayed in Dickinson’s poems.
Ernest Hemingway’s The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber is a story about a man who has experienced success throughout his entire life. Francis Macomber has wealth, a wife and trophies but lacks self-confidence. As he journeys through the safari he experiences a lesser sense of confidence due to an encounter with a lion. His lack of bravery continues until he is able to take down a buffalo. That experience became a life changing experience. Macomber realized he did not need everything he has bought but instead he needs to live for himself. Moments before his unfortunate death Francis Macomber was able to experience a boost in self-confidence and realize that he need to live for him rather than to impress those around him.
Two of Emily Dickinson's poems have common ground in death. “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died” and “Because I could not stop for Death” both speak of the inescapable nature of death. In “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died” the speaker is on her death bed and as she dies “the Windows failed” and the speaker was no longer able to see anymore. This excerpt explains that death cannot be stopped and that as your eyes, “the Windows,” close upon you no longer experience life. “Because I could not stop for Death” in the title itself explains how death is unavoidable. A human cannot stop for death, it is a natural occurrence and when you die you put away your life, your “labor and…leisure too.” This poem takes on a different aspect of death. As the poem goes on the dying speaker passes many different structures and scenes that can be seen as her life flashing before her eyes. Contrary to the first poem at the end of this poem windows do not shut but death, a personified object, takes the speaker “toward Eternity.” These vantage points on death contribute to a life aspect that all humans must experience.
In Dickinson's “Success is counted sweetest” the speakers says that those who have never experienced success appreciate it more than those who experience success regularly. It is seen greatest “by those who ne’er succeed” and those who do succeed appreciate it less. Later in the poem she makes a strong point saying those who been defeated in war are the ones who can really understand victory and “can tell the definition/ So clear of Victory.” This sense of defeat and failure is tied into Hemingway’s The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber as Francis experiences both while on his hunt and in turn is able to appreciate both success and victory.
Emily Dickinson also speaks of truth in her poem “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant.” The truth is too strong for many people; it should be stretched in order for people to accept it. The speaker proves this by using an example with children. Lightening scares children so we do not explain the truth of lightening but we do so “with explanation kind,” so they do not fear it as much. The truth must not be said outright but rather it must “dazzle gradually” or else man will be harmed. In certain cases the truth is too powerful for humans to know it.
The readings from this week all tie together in their themes and with Jesuit ideals and education. Hemingway’s piece exemplifies all of the themes present in Emily Dickinson's poems. Francis Macomber experienced success throughout his life but did not fully appreciate it until he suffered defeat and failure on his hunting trip. He was finally able to realize how important it is to value himself and moments after that experience he suffered an unfortunate death. Truth ties into this piece with his wife shooting him and finding the truth of whether it was an accident or intentional. The Jesuit ideas tie into the readings from this week with care for yourself. One must value their body and mind and appreciate success and strive for it even if it hasn't been reached. A person should live for themselves and their whole body's health rather than trying to impress those around them.

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