I hadn’t really considered the importance of the narrative voice on the way the story is told until now. In “Araby”, “Livvie” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” the distinctive narrative voices and their influences shed light on hidden meanings and the narrator’s credibility.
In “Araby” the story is told from the point of view of a man remembering a childhood experience. The story is told in the first person. The reader has access to the thoughts of the narrator as he relives his experience of what we assume is his first crush. We do not know how the girl feels about him. The narrator’s youth and inexperience influence his perspective. His love for her is deep and innocent. As an adult, the narrator recollects his emotions for the girl with fondness, but the reader also detects a hint of regret as well. The narrator tells us that their first communication takes place when he goes to the back drawing room where the priest had died. There, in that sacred place, he spoke with the girl and made a promise that he would get her a gift if he was able to go to Araby. Soon after, “as a creature driven by vanity”, he fails to retrieve a gift for her and is humiliated. I wonder if the narrator is implying that his true devotion to her was somehow blessed in the room where the priest died and when he allowed his sinful vanity to penetrate that love, he lost her.
In “Livvie” the story is relayed by an omniscient third person narration. The narrator in this case provides insight into each of the characters, yielding to no one inparticular. The narrator uses subtle patterns in association wit…
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…ten seen as representing an imaginative or “poetic” view of things that conflicts with (or sometimes compliments) the American male’s “common sense” approach to reality”. When society “values the useful and the practical and rejects anything else as nonsense”, (feminine) imagination and creativity are threatened. Much like our narrator, women of that time were directed to suppress their creativity as it threatened the dominating male’s sense of logic and control. “Perhaps the story was unpopular (at first) because it was, at least on some level, understood all too clearly, because it struck too deeply and effectively at traditional ways of seeing the world and woman’s place in it”.
Shumaker, Conrad. “‘Too Terribly Good to Be Printed’: Charlotte Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’.” Journal of American Literature 57.4 (1985): 588-599.
Mythology in Oedipus Rex
Mythology in Oedipus Rex
E. T. Owen in “Drama in Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus” comments on the mythological beginnings of Oedipus Rex:
Professor Goodell says: “Given an old myth to be dramatized, Sophocles’ primary question was, ‘Just what sort of people were they, must they have been, who naturally did and suffered what the tales say they did and suffered?” That was his method of analysis (38).
The Greek Sophoclean tragedy Oedipus Rex is based on a myth from the Homeric epic Odysseus. With his tragic flaw the protagonist, Oedipus, lives out the main episodes of the Homeric myth.
In his essay “Sophoclean Tragedy” Friedrich Nietzsche searches out the mythology in this drama, and finds that the story originates in Persia:
Oedipus who murders his father and marries his mother. Oedipus who solves the riddle of the Sphinx! What does this mysterious trinity of fateful deeds tell us? An ancient legend, occurring in purest form among the Persians, relates that a wise magician is born only as a result of incest – which, looking back to Oedipus, riddle-solver, wooer of his mother, we cannot hesitate to explicate. . . .(17).
Nietzsche’s tracing of the origin of Oedipus Rex is at odds with that of Immanuel Velikovsky, who describes his findings in his book, Oedipus and Akhnaton: Myth and History:
The earliest reference to the Oedipus legend is found in Homer’s Odyssey. The epic was most probably put into writing early in the seventh century before the present era. . . . “And I saw the mother of Oedipodes, fair Epicste, who wrought a monstrous deed in ignorance of mind in that she wedded her own son, and he, when he had slain his own father, wedded her, and straightwa…
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… Essays, edited by Thomas Woodard. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.
E. T. Owen in “Drama in Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus.” In Twentieth Century Interpretations of Oedipus Rex, edited by Michael J. O’Brien. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.
Segal, Charles. Oedipus Tyrannus: Tragic Heroism and the Limits of Knowledge. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1993.
“Sophocles” In Literature of the Western World, edited by Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. NewYork: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1984.
Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. Transl. by F. Storr. no pag.