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Big Mama’s Funeral

Big Mama’s Funeral

Gabriel García Márquez story, Big Mama’s Funeral, is a story filled with fantastical scenes and events much in line with Don Quixote and Candide. The introductory paragraphs of Big Mama’s Funeral and Candide sound so similar in voice the two authors could be mistaken for the same. In Candide, one finds a series of episodes that are so far from the truth and yet perfectly explainable. The story of the fate of Dr. Pangloss, the death and resurrection of Cunegund and of her Jesuit brother, and the story of the old woman with one buttock are farcical in the same way as the episodes in Big Mama’s Funeral. In Don Quixote, we find a man, for the most part average, who wishes to become a knight-errant. In his quest is as series of happenings so ridiculous they are nothing short of tabloid-style sensationalism, or drug induced hallucinations.

In Big Mama’s Funeral, we are told the story of the death and funeral of Big Mama. In the events of her life and the days proceeding and proceeding her death we find events and stories of the past that are truly fantastical. In the annals of her past we find that in her family the “uncles married the daughters of their nieces, and the cousins married their aunts, and the brothers their sisters-in-law, until an intricate mesh of consanguinity was formed.” Here, García Márquez takes the simple act of incestuous relationships, which do occur, and elevates them to an extreme level. This is the writing style of García Márquez and the two aforementioned writers, Cervantes and Voltaire.

Ah, Wilderness – Significance of the play’s title

Ah, Wilderness – Significance of the play’s title

The title of the play, Ah, Wilderness, by Eugene O’Neill, plays a significant role in the understanding of the play. The “wilderness” is used as a metaphor for the period in a male’s life when he is no longer a boy, but not yet a man. This play tells the story of the coming-of-age of Richard, and the evolution he undergoes while becoming a man.

The “wilderness” used in the title is a metaphor for the years between childhood and manhood. Life, for a man, is like the woods. When one is a boy, he is in a clearing. Everything told by adults is taken as truth, and because of this trust the truth is clear. As one enters the in-between years, the truth is no longer as clear. The developing mind begins to question the notions held by those in control, parents in particular. This period is like a wilderness one must wander through. When one exits the woods, things once again become clear. One no longer feels the need to wander aimlessly through the darkness, and one usually returns to the truths instilled by parents.

Richard begins the play as a boy on the verge of manhood. A studious youth, just beginning to sow the seeds of rebellion, he at first feels no need to rebel against things close at hand. This soon changes with a visit to his father from Richard’s girlfriend’s father. Richard has been sending poetry to Muriel, his girlfriend, and her father sees the subject matter of this poetry as inappropriate. Unbeknownst to Richard, Muriel has been coerced into writing a letter to him breaking off the relationship. Richard feels so heartbroken he rebels against everything. This moment is the point in which Richard enters the “wilderness.” The perfect opportunity to prov…

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…uneasy side glances, and steels himself for what is coming.” Richard has come back around to his prior ways of thinking. He now states “(His head down humbly.) I know I was a darned fool” (844).

Richard, in the course of the play, makes the transition from boyhood to manhood. As with most young men, Richard enters the “wilderness”, a metaphor for the stage of rebellion, and exits with no lasting scars. Richard’s father, like most parents, realizes that Richard has walked out of the wilderness and states, ” . . . I don’t think we’ll ever have to worry about his being safe–from himself–again. And I guess no matter what life will do to him, he can take care of it now” (845). This statement shows the necessity of the wilderness to the evolution of man, and the importance of a father’s understanding during this important stage of development.

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