Man's Limits

I think that Icarus isn’t sorry because he dared to push the limits and the risk takers are often some of the most important people in history. On the other hand it pushes the moral of too much or too little of a good thing is bad. If he got too low he would dampen his wings and be unable to fly and if he flew too high then his wings would melt. So it is kind of like needing to find a balance as well as self control to keep that balance. I think that Icarus should be sorry because he in a sense got too greedy and wanted more than he could handle.

Other versions of the myth talk about the father and son escaping by water, either by swimming or by boat in which Icarus drowns. Taking the other versions into consideration I also see Icarus as living life to the fullest and having no regrets because he went to the extreme.

The term dystopia means the opposite of utopia, and is referred as anti-utopia. This is a place that often through the advancement of technology ends up repressing the human race. The Island is a great example of dystopia and how technology can be harmful. In The Island rich people buy insurance policies so that if anything happens to them they can be fixed which is in essence like making a clone car for spare parts, but with people. Beside the fact that it is unethical they repress the clones so they have to follow specific rules and regulations to maintain optimal health. All of the clones are brainwashed to believe that the world has been contaminated and there are a few survivors which must remain inside. Many futuristic movies contain some sort of dystopia which makes a great villain that we all know, technology.

Children Misbehaving
 In Eavan Boland’s “The Pomegranate” the narrator sees the myth of Demeter and Persephone as a metaphor for growing up and moving into the big scary world. The narrator says that she was first the child Persephone and then eventually became the mother Demeter. Here she talks about being on her own for the first time: “As a child in exile in a city of fogs and strange consonants” (8-9). This is similar to Persephone being without her mother when she enters into the deep dark underworld, which at first can seem very similar to a big city with dark alleys and people who look as though they are chasing death. The narrator then becomes Demeter talking of winter coming: “But I was Ceres then and I knew winter was in store for every leaf on every tree on that road.” (19-21). She is now in the place where her child has to go venture out on her own for the first time and she compares her sadness to Demeter who has to part with her child for a third of every year. The narrator compares the emotions of having to let go of a child with the cold dead winter that Demeter causes when grieving.

Rita Dove also writes a poem, “Persephone, Falling” about the myth of Persephone and Demeter, but sees it as a warning like stranger danger. The narrator talking about the capture of Persephone: “It is finished. No one heard her No one! She had strayed from the herd.”(7-8). The quote is similar to a little child wandering off into a street or getting lost in a crowded area. After listing the rules that children should obey the narrator says, “This is how easily the pit opens. This is how one foot sinks into the ground” (13-14). This is saying that any child can swooped away and never be seen again just like Persephone who was taken into the hole that lead to the underworld. Hades can be seen as a predator for children just waiting to take them forever and unless children follow the rules of safety they can become Persephone.

Icarus’s myth is one of warning preceeded by failure, and how no matter how much you warn someone they usually will still make the mistake. Children who are told not to touch something quite often will eventually touch it. It seems to bear a connection to youth and being irresponsible. In the myth the father does something while imprisoned that he is not supposed to do which is why they have to make their hasty retreat, so in turn the son is quite similar to the dad. Like father like son.

The butterfly effect

            When you think of a love song you think of a movie scene where the music is playing in the background and everything seems to be just right and then they kiss. As a human race we hold a notion that love conquers all and is always beautiful. From reading the title of T.S Eliot “The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock" one would think that the poem would depict something similar to our notion of love. Eliot uses irony in his title because the narrator in the poem is actually alone and lonely. He talks about how “In the room the women come and go” (13) and later on talking of mermaids: “I do not think that they will sing to me.” (125). Both of these examples the narrator sees woman and mermaids, which represent desirable women, as having no regard for him (narrator). The narrator leads this prim and proper lifestyle where he does as he should and wonders if he should have taken the chance at love. Talking of his life spent drinking tea the narrator says this: “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;” (51).

            In the myth of Demeter and Persephone there are many different versions, but all include one main theme. A bond between mother and daughter cannot be replaced and the loss of a child is more than one can handle. That is why winter and fall come because Demeter’s daughter Persephone has to return to the underworld as Hades queen for that time. During this time Demeter once again neglects the earth to mourn her daughter. There is another universal theme, which is similar to the butterfly effect, that when you take one thing out of a system everything is affected. For example, if you kill off all mosquitos then the bird won’t have food and then they will die and things that prey on them will struggle, which has a chain effect.

Life and Death

All three poems represent some sort of growing that comes from maturing or getting older. Richard Wilbur’s “The Writer” talks about his daughter growing from a child to becoming a writer in which she enters “the sill of the world” (590). In “Packing for the Future: Instructions” Lorna Crozier talks about what one would experience when going into the future: “In your bag leave room for sadness” (673). Lastly Harry Thurston’s “Miracle” talks about his daughter picking a strawberry flower and his revelation that he is “awed by the miracle of what really happens” (684). The narrator realizes how amazing growing or transforming is and that it is quite a miracle.

Sylvia Plath’s poem “Daddy” seems to follow her own experience with her own dad, but with many differences. A small difference is that the narrator’s dad dies when the girl is ten, which for Plath she was eight at the time. In the poem she describes breaking bones to be with her father, which Plath was in a car accident (suicide attempt), but I am unsure if anything was broken. The narrator labels her father as a Nazi that she is ashamed of, and Plath’s real father was from Germany, but only known to be a professor of biology and not a part of the war efforts. I think that Plath choose to depict her father in a different light to reveal her emotions of him choosing to leave her at such a young age. I agree that a biography is just someone’s spin on things because how truthful can you be about someone when you don’t know what was in their mind or even the difference between fiction and fact. If I were to write a biography about you I would only know what you tell me and therefore it is not the entire picture. With all the things we know about Plath it doesn’t even compare to what she knew about herself, and if she all the misconceptions about her she would have to agree with me.

Forfeit a Life

The author of the boat uses three other fictional stories to create more depth and to allow the reader to understand the author’s intention. The three references in the story are to Eustacia Vye, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield. All three have characters that have surrendered their life to the water in some form and have done so because of a strong emotion. In the boat these characters represent the father and what he in the end also sacrificed. The father gave his life to the sea long before he died and in the end the sea stripped him of everything that made him, “the fish had eaten his testicles and the gulls had pecked out his eyes” (MacLeod, p.260). This relates to the fact that the stories mentioned have surrendered to the by the sea, whether it is in love, revenge, shame, or in the fathers case lost dreams.

When an author chooses to make the reader or viewer aware of the fact that they are reading or watching a story and not something real it is called metafiction. This can appear in many different ways like: a character reading/writing a book, the author/narrator asking the reader questions, or discussing the plot or theme of the story in the story. One well known example is in Hamlet where there is a play in the storyline and it resembles the actual play taking place. Another that first came to my mind is the older Disney movies that begin with the fairytale book opening like “Beauty and the Beast” or even “Shrek”.

Authors may include metafiction in their work for many reasons and it can have varied affects depending where and when it is used. If the author wants to reach the reader in a way that provokes a person to think outside of the box they might attempt to communicate with the reader in a story. Including works of fiction within fiction I see as a way to allow the reader to see themselves in the story, because they are reading about a character that is doing the same thing they are, reading. Although metafiction reminds a reader that they are viewing or reading something not real I think it generally allows a reader to connect on a different level.


In Alice’s “Boys and Girls” the narrator speaks of different rooms in the house so that they each elicit a different feeling. The fathers work area is first mentioned, which shows an importance to the fathers area. When speaking of the environment she depicts a brightly lit area with whitewashed walls, and describes it as feeling safe. Most people when picturing something like a basement/butcher house would not use the words safe or bright, and would most likely say the opposite. The narrator sees this environment as the opposite of the norm. The narrator recalls watching the father while sitting on the top step and speaks with warmth while the father removes pelts from the fox’s body.

            The children’s bedroom, which is mentioned second in order, is regarded with an eerie and unsafe feeling. It is dark, and solitary, which the children look upon with fear in the dark with the help of their imagination. Although they fear what lurks in the shadows the girl enjoys the time to herself after her brother falls asleep. This is a place where she can be herself (until later years) and can truly be a child by using her imagination and having no fear of being judged.

            Lastly the mothers work area which is the kitchen is mentioned third in relation to the bedroom and the basement. She describes the kitchen as “hot” and “dark” (p. 223) and dislikes spending any time in the kitchen. Opposite of the basement it is not remembered as clean, but greasy and old. This is also opposing the norm as many mothers cooking in the kitchen are a pleasurable memory and not a burden.

            Through the research for next week’s readings I found some back-story on Eustacia Vye, a character from The Return of the Native, Moby Dick story, and Ham Peggotty from David Copperfield. Eustacia was a character that was looking for love that would allow her to travel and have a new and different life. After falling in love her dreams of traveling were demolished when her husband had no intention of leaving their home. After a failed attempt of becoming her brother-in-law’s mistress she committed suicide by jumping into a river, not wanting to face the shame.

            Moby Dick’s plot was a bit simpler where a whaling captain is driven by revenge to kill a whale that amputated him. The captain hides his intentions from the crew and ignores their pleas to not pursue the whale. After the whale encounters many other ships and ravages their crew the captain still continues on until eventual he meets his demise at the mouth of the whale.

            Ham Peggotty is a cousin and fiancé to Emily Peggotty, who is Copperfield’s childhood love and friend. Emily leaves Ham for another man who later on deserts her and she returns to Ham. Ham eventually dies on their trip to Australia after trying to save the man his fiancé left him for. His death is hidden by Copperfield because he does not want it to affect their journey.


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