Get help from the best in academic writing.

Society Versus the Individual in Gather Together in My Name

Society Versus the Individual in Gather Together in My Name

“I reassured myself. I was helping my man. And, after all, there was nothing wrong with sex. I had no need for shame. Society dictated that sex was only licensed by marriage documents. Well, I didn’t agree with that. Society is a conglomerate of human beings and that’s just what I was. A human being.” What we have here from Maya Angelou’s novel, Gather Together in My Name, is the basic battle of society against the individual. Who wins? Well, according to Angelou, the answer is no one wins because everyone loses. It is this particular theme that needs to be addressed the most for two reasons. One is that Maya Angelou is one of the first black females to write about the “Ritas” of the world. The second, which is the one under investigation in this essay, is in reference to John Oliver Killens’ criticism, “This is the story of a great heroine who knows the meaning of a struggle and never loses her pride or dignity. Indeed, her story makes me proud of the human race.”

“I had no idea what I was going to make of my life, but I had given a promise and found my innocence. I swore I’d never lose it again.” Those words spoken by Rita at the end of the novel seem to support Killens’ appraisal. However, while an eighteen-year-old mother, who has had numerous failures and even a greater number of affairs, may know “the meaning of a struggle” quite well, it is not so that she never loses her pride or dignity. In fact, it is doubtful as to whether or not, even by the stories end, she has yet found it. One may argue that she found her pride and dignity after she stopped smoking pot or after she stopped prostituting or after (about the fifth time) she promised herself she would get her life together. Unfortunately, none of these are valid, for Rita did not actually discontinue the use of pot, she just ran out. Rita sleeps with a drug addict named Troubadour Martin for the security she thought she would receive from him.

Reaction to a Passage from The Good Earth earth

Reaction to a Significant Passage from The Good Earth “And O-lan in the house was not idle. With her own hands she lashed the mats to the rafters and took earth from the fields and mixed it with water and mended the walls of the house, and she built again the oven and filled the holes in the floor that the rain had washed.” There can be no doubt that the symbol of earth in Buck’s novel, The Good Earth, is one so potent that it permeates and binds the entire tale. It is presented repeatedly throughout the novel, either through gentle allusion or outright statement. None can dispute that the earth itself is a vital component in the livelihood of any farmer, thus it is not surprising that the farmer Wang Lung places so much value into his lands; however, there is a separate element of the earth that Pearl S. Buck brings forth in her tale about a farmer’s prosperous rise in feudal China, that element of regeneration and revitalization that is so apparent within this selected passage from the book. Many times throughout the book did the earth pull Wang Lung through hardship and difficulty, and it was the one constant factor in his life, even as things changed–people dies, great houses fell, war and famine raged, and inner turmoil plagued his very being. Throughout all of these obstacles the earth was always there, waiting for Wang Lung–whether as poor farmer or as wealthy man of the village–to return to it, and draw from it those ever-present qualities of life and healing. The very words of the selected passage are pregnant with these qualities, as Wang Lung and his family, returning from the south to his land after a great and terrible period of famine, close those horrible years through the almost magical substance of the earth. It is symbolic how O-lan the wife, tending to the structure of the farmland house (a symbol itself in the Wang family) uses the “earth from the fields” to mend the walls of the house–thus the ailments of the “house” are healed by the richness of the land. All the “holes” that the past “rain” created are “filled.” Nowhere in the book is the significance of the earth better presented than in this passage. When taken less literally and more figuratively, one can witness all that the land does for Wang Lung throughout the entire tale. Through the hands of his faithful wife (which are an extension of his own hands, as are all the laborers whom he hires in the latter part of the book) the land is an agent of life, healing, and prosperity.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.