Get help from the best in academic writing.

Loneliness in Eleanor Rigby and Misery

Loneliness in Eleanor Rigby and Misery

The poem “Eleanor Rigby,” written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, has a common theme with Anton Chekov’s short story “Misery.” They present to the reader the failure of the main characters to make any significant contact with other people. This failure results in an overwhelming sense of despair and loneliness.

In both of these works the main characters are faced with a problem they need to resolve. Their attempts to solve these problems provide a common ground that can be used to examine the success or failure of their efforts. The story “Misery” introduces Iona Potapov, a cab driver, who has just had his son die and has no one with whom he can share his grief. The poem “Eleanor Rigby” presents two characters. The first is Eleanor who craves companionship; the second is Father McKenzie who wants to win souls for God.

In both pieces there is a failure of the main characters to reach out in a manner that would bring a resolution to their problems. This invites the question, why do they fail? Part of the solution to this question lies in how the characters are presented to the reader. In “Misery,” Iona tries to communicate to someone the depths of his grief, but sadly fails. The image formed is of a man, totally absorbed by his grief, crushed by the weight of his despair, to the extent that he is oblivious to the snow and deepening twilight. “Iona Potapov, the sledge-driver, is all white like a ghost. He sits on the box without stirring, bent as double as the living body can be bent.” (pg. 30) In “Eleanor Rigby,” Eleanor is presented as someone lost in her own fantasy. She never attempts to reach out to anyone, preferring to wait for someone to reach her. “… lives…

… middle of paper …

… approaching. It is cold and snowing, making Iona an island of misery in a frozen ocean. The people around him are involved with life, while he is alone and absorbed by death and grief. “Eleanor Rigby” revolves around an empty church. There are few things that feel colder or more alone than an empty church, except perhaps an unmourned grave. Eleanor dies in the church and then is buried in just such a grave. “Eleanor Rigby Died in the church and was buried along with her name, Nobody came.” (pg. 425)

These two pieces of literature cause the reader to grieve for the characters presented. The obvious suffering they endure when they fail to make anyone realize their pain, forces the reader to acknowledge their existence. As the poem so aptly expresses, “All the lonely people, Where do they all come from? All the lonely people, Where do they all belong?” (pg 425)

Canterbury Tales: A Feminist Perspective of Wife of Bath

A Feminist Perspective of Wife of Bath

Many literary critics throughout the years have labeled the Wife of Bath, the “gap-toothed (23)” character of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, a feminist. She is a strong-willed and dominant woman who gets what she wants when she wants it. However, this is not the definition of a feminist. A feminist is someone who believes that women and men are equal, while also is able to recognize and appreciate the unique characteristics of both sexes. A feminist celebrates what it means to be a woman, and a feminist is definitely not what Chaucer meant his character to be interpreted as. If anything, the Wife of Bath could safely be called a sexist. She constantly emphasizes the negative connotations associated with women throughout the ages, and believes that all women are inherently that way. The Wife of Bath describes women as greedy, controlling, dishonest creatures. Also, even though it seems contradictory, she has no respect for her body or the rights of women, and is an insult to true feminists everywhere.

The commonly used example of the Wife of Bath’s so-called “feminism”, is the incident in which she rips pages out of her husband’s extremely sexist book. He proceeds to hit her in the head, causing her to fall to the floor in pain. This seems like an act of female liberation, but it is far from that. She did not think the horribly sexist stories her husband read to her were untrue. In fact, the stories sounded like something the Wife of Bath would say herself. She lashes out because she can not face her flaws. The Wife of Bath actually says that women can have no one “reprove us for our vice, but say we are wise and not at all foolish…there is not one of us who will not kic…

… middle of paper …

…etting out of the relationship, she loves him more for it. When talking about him she says: “…even if he had beaten me on every bone, he could soon win my love again” (205). Feminists, who are against battery and rape, would be disgusted at the Wife of Bath’s comments.

The Wife of Bath is in no way a feminist. Even when saying or doing something that seems feminist, it has other greedy intentions behind it. Feminists celebrate the intuitiveness of women, and the Wife of Bath cannot even face herself. She emphasizes the negative stereotypes associated with women, such as dishonesty, nagging, cruelty, greed, and control, which puts her in the same category as a sexist. Also, she seems to see nothing wrong with the most horrible things that can be done to a woman, such as battery and rape. To call the Wife of Bath a feminist, is an insult to women everywhere.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.