Out of the Fog Came Life: A Stylistic Analysis of Dickens’s Bleak House

by Trudy A. Martinez

originally posted: February 17,2011 Edited to include the Perfect Ending December 16, 2015

The imagery in Bleak House reveals a revelation of possibilities that petitions both a pessimistic and an optimistic existence. The beginning is the end. The end is the beginning of judgment. The words paint a picture, a warning of a possible end, giving a pessimistic view of that city coming into judgment. The four elements: earth, water, fire, and air that frame the beginning of the earth in the Holy Bible also frame the desolate beginning of Bleak House with its possible end. The middle links the beginning and the end through the characters representative of both good and evil who guide the societal participants at all levels of existence to their destination in life or death. In the end, the ending is a new beginning, mending a separation between man and woman, joining them in both love and marriage; this scene paints an optimistic view of a promise land free from destructive imagery.

Dickens inaugurates his imagery by using a verb style hypotaxis where the ranking is done for us while the all-knowing narrator informs the reader of any judgment lest we be guilty of judging. His play on words in the hypotaxis style creates an image of the beginning of the end with all of the four elements at work. For instance, the weather issues forth the mud, symbolizing corruption, where the “foot passengers . . . slipping and sliding” in and out of their faith add “new deposits” of “crust” to the earth. The retirement of the water (a symbol of the pure at heart ascending to Heaven) is seen “hanging in the misty clouds” protected from the fog that weaves in and out, spreading corruption everywhere at all levels of society and to all its classes, while at the same time, destroying the natural elements. The pure at heart are protected from the destruction and blindness created because they are housed within the structure of a prepositional phrase “as if they were up in a balloon.” Hovering above and “Peeping” down upon a pestilence in progress (Dickens 49). The fire issues forth its aftermath: the “smoke making a soft black drizzle with flakes of “soot” raining on and “mourning . . . for the death of the sun” (Dickens 49). The air, suffering from the effects of the death of the sun, produces a “haggard and unwilling look,” forming a gaseous appearance that looms “through the fog in divers places (Dickens 49)” toward those who are deserving of God’s judgment.

Period writers arm themselves with His judgment, prophesying the coming of the bridegroom who, ridding the earth of the “Megalosarus,” a dragon simulating the devil, brings about the death of the elements. Why else would “the two speechless gazers” after “justice was done” bend “themselves down to the earth, as if in prayer” in Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles? Were they not made aware of His presence? Was it just a coincidence that Adam’s occupation was a carpenter capable of winning over the priestess Dinah presented as if she was pure and innocence in Adam Bede or was it merely that the author, George Eliot’s vision blurred? I think not! After all, the all-knowing narrator allows her to confess in the novel, hinting of her defect and her judgment before God:

“The mirror is doubtless defective: the outlines will sometimes be disturbed, the reflection faint or confused; but I feel as much bound to tell you as precisely as I can what that refection is, as if I were in the witness-box, narrating my experience on oath (174).”

Others in the same period present and depict London in a similar light, exposing situations deserving of God’s judgment, while at the same time, teaching the eye to hear as if fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah (Matthew 13:13-17) while focusing on the position of woman in society. For example, Blake’s central concern was the Infants cry, pointing to the sin of man as the reason for the Harlot’s curse we hear while he hears the Harlots (plural) curse (swear) because of the tear (separation) of the Infants tear from their rightful place. Blake teaches his reader to hear with their eyes through the transparent chiasmas he creates. Similarly, one must question whether the Harlot’s curse put upon Lady Deadlock in Bleak House is actually man’s curse for allowing and bringing about her separation from her child, Esther.

Mrs. Rouncewell announces that the sound of the Ghost’s Walk must be heard when she tells a child, “I am not sure it is dark enough yet, but listen! Can you hear the sound upon the terrace, through the music, and the beat, and everything? This sound she says, “You cannot shut it out” (Dickens 141). And then again one might ask how was the blind man in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary able to see Emma’s sin and rebuke her for it when he could only hear? Could it be he is a messenger sending forth a rebuke to all of us so that we will become aware of the writing on the wall and hear with our eyes the same beat and music being played for us by God Almighty from the break of His day? Although each instance centers in on a different aspect of woman’s existence, all communicate a need for change.

Bleak House calls to mind the sin of Eve and the need for the removal of false images before the sight of God. For instance, Esther’s aunt, her godmother, assumes the role of a god, issuing forth judgment when she says, “Your mother, Esther, is your disgrace, and you were hers” (Dickens 65). Further evidence of her role as a god is given through her paralleling herself to Christ: “I have forgiven her,” she said, “I, the sufferer” (Dickens 65). But only God in Heaven can truly forgive and Christ already paid with his life by suffering for our sins. Why then is Esther’s aunt taking on such a role? Why is Esther made to suffer at the hands of another and a woman at that?

In essence, Esther asks these questions herself when she reads the book of St. John to her aunt and exclaims, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her! (Dickens 66)” At this point, an abrupt switch from the verb style Esther reads from the Holy Bible to the noun style hypotaxis where the aunt’s role is cast within a different structure. Esther is “stopped by her godmother’s rising, putting her hand to her head, and crying out in an awful voice, from quite another part of the book . . . “ (Dickens 67). Here again, there is an abrupt change; this time to a verb style as she attempts to assume a different role, deceiving the child and freeing herself from her confinement. Unfortunately, the role she attempts to assume is that of a false god, using God’s words as her own, warning Esther of destruction: ‘ “Watch ye therefore! Lest . . . he find you sleeping” ‘(Dickens 67), and forgetting that God is an angry God and a jealous God; the aunt makes the mistake of overly extending her influence, and she unthinkingly spouts out: “And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch!” Consequently, God struck her down. He Judged her instantly.

At once, the verb style returns to a noun style when the aunt is spoken of by the naïve narrative of Esther, but the noun style works against its subject: Esther’s emotional plea to her aunt, the anaphora: I + kissed, [I] + thanked, and [I] + prayed, [I] + asked, [I] + [asked], [I] + entreated, failed because the aunt had over stepped her bounds by assuming the character of the antichrist and was, therefore, instantly judged.

Esther avoids an immediate judgment because she is still a child, investigating the choices available to her with the words of her aunt still ringing in her ears: “Pray daily that the sins of others be not visited upon your head, according to what is written” (Dickens 65). From this point, the novel becomes Esther’s bildungsroman as she moves from an unfavorable light toward a more favorable one. Just as Esther moves, the written word moves. For instance, noun style changes to a verb style, the hypotaxis style, where everything is determined for us, changes to a parataxis style where the choice is left up to us; and we are made able to link good to the bad as if administering a pill to cure its ills.

The change in Esther, just as the change in the written style of the words on the page, becomes apparent in Esther when she administers a pill to herself. Here, she stresses self-denial and a willingness to seek and discover the answers. The absence of prepositional phrases, the jailed structure that inhibits choice, highlights the change in the structure just as it highlights the change in Esther and favors her for her choice of thinking of others first:

“I don’t know how it is; I seem to be always writing about myself. I mean all the time to write about other people, and I try to think about myself as little as possible, and I am sure, when I find myself coming into the story again, I am really vexed and say, ‘Dear, dear, you tiresome little creature. I wish you wouldn’t!’ But it is all of no use (Dickens 163).”

It is of no use not speaking of Esther because speaking of Esther is the only way to reveal the methods and the formula for change and its reward or damnation. The others around her paint the picture of how things are going to be. For example, Mr. Skimpole is seen receiving his reward for his faith. The table was set for him: “There was honey on the table, and it led him into the discourses about the Bees. . . He protested against the overwhelming assumptions of bees.” The status the “busy bees” sold their souls for was given him by them. He stood firm and did not allow them to be a model. The station of the bees “was ridiculous:” a “position, to be smoked out of your fortune with brimstone” (Dickens 143).

Mr. Jarndyce guides Esther from the fire and smoke to discovery of the unknown and to her pleasure as if throwing water on her, baptizing her, and awakening her from a sleep. Esther tells us that the signs were “At first,” only “faintly discernible in the mists,” and acknowledges that “above them . . . later stars still glimmered” (Dickens 142). Is it just a coincidence that Esther is sent for and brought out of the mist “On the” very “day, after” her false image, the “poor good god mother, “the antichrist, “was buried,” and “the gentlemen in black with the white neckcloth reappeared,” announcing: “My name is Kenge . . . you may remember it, my child; Kenge and Carboy, Lincoln’s Inn?”(Dickens 67).

Does he not call to mind one holding the balances in his hand? He sure appears so on the page for Kenge first appears in the noun style and then abruptly switches to the verb style when he speaks. It stands to reason that just after Jarndyce announces “that Boythorn,” who was “the loudest boy in the world, and now the loudest man”, was coming down on a visit that he and his guests “observed the favorable omen” (Dickens 166). The opposite occurs on page 66 when the one that was, the god-MOTHER OF HARLOTS is struck down after trying to steal the thunder of the words of THE KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

We are told by Boythorn, “We have been misdirected” by “the most intolerable scoundrel on the face of the earth” (Dickens 166). Mr. Boythorn asks, “Is there anything for me from your men, Kenge and Carboy?” after he identifies Sir Leicester as Sir Lucifer and “calls attention to” the controversy of trespass., concerning “the green pathway” that Sir Leicester claims right away to but that is “now the property of Mr. Lawrence Boythorn”(Dickens 166-170). Did not he state: “No closing of my path, by any Deadlock!”

In contrast, Richard, thinking only of himself, “one of the most restless creatures in the world” takes a different route: He goes from what is considered a favorable light to an unfavorable one. Richard stresses self-love and a willingness to accept a different calling: “. . . The inclination of his childhood for the sea” (Dickens 163-164). Unlike Esther, Richard’s speech moves from a verb style to noun style. For example, Richard says: “So, cousin . . . We are never to get out of Chancery!” And the style abruptly changes to a noun style as he continues to say: “We have come by another way to our place of meeting yesterday, and – by the Great Seal, here’s the old lady again!”(Dickens 97) His choice was that of the easy way out as if he could change the direction the wind blows.

Finding that he has to work for his place, he places his confidence in the world whose outward appearance of luxury and fashion veils the inward corruption. The same becomes his religion and the High Lord Chancellor becomes his idol. This is evidenced when he confides in Esther:

“So I apprehend it’s pretty clear . . . that I shall have to work my own way. Never mind! Plenty of people have had to do that before now, and have done it. I only wish I had the command of a clipping privateer, to begin with, and could carry off the Chancellor and keep him on short allowance until he gave judgment in our cause. He’d find himself growing thin, if he didn’t look sharp! (Dickens 164)”

Hence, Richard becomes the kindling that fuels the wheels of corruption, thinking his dream of success lies just around the next turn as the wheels forever grind him further down toward his desolate destination of destruction and death. For example, his guide toward destruction, Mr. Vholes issues forth all manners of lies, eating upon Richard’s very flesh as if he were a cannibal (Dickens 605). And then again, he listened to the wrong voices when Mr. Vholes says, “A good deal is doing, sir. We have to put our shoulders to the wheel, Mr. Carstone, and the wheel is going round” (Dickens 607):

“I ought to imitate you, in fact, Mr. Vholes? Says Richard, sitting down again with an impatient laugh, and beating the Devil’s Tattoo with his boot on the patternless carpet” (Dickens 607).

In the beginning of the end, all the pestilence that was weaving through the streets in the fog was directed toward “the Lord High Chancellor” who having:

“A foggy glory round his head, softly fenced in with crimson cloth and curtains . . . outwardly directing his contemplation to the lantern in the roof, where he can see nothing but fog” (Dickens 50),

Let his house become desolate and unworthy of praise.

Quite the opposite of the Chancellor, Mr. John Jarndyce who converts his inheritance of a Bleak House left to him by his ancestors to a house of beauty by ridding the inside of its corruption of dirt with the application of a little water as if sent from God to bear witness of Truth.

Jarndyce compares the likeness of the former state of Bleak House to that city, burning in brimstone and the House built to fulfill the bridegroom’s coming, a promise, to the bride (earth). For what other reason would everyone at Bleak House view Mr. Boythorn’s coming as “the favorable omen,” confirming Jarndyce’s role as the Baptist when he says, “Now, will you come upstairs” and Boythorn answers:

“By my soul, Jarndyce, . . . if you had been married, I would have turned back at the garden-gate . . .I wouldn’t be guilty of the audacious insolence of keeping a lady [bride] of the house waiting all this time, for any earthly consideration. I would infinitely rather destroy myself – infinitely rather! (Dickens 166-168).”

The end is left for the reader to decide whether it is a new beginning or an actual judgment of earth. Jarndyce sums it up:

“I have never lost my old names, nor has he lost his; nor do I ever when he is with us, sit in any other place than in my old chair at his side. Dame Trot, Dame Durden, Little Woman! – all just the same as ever; and [Esther] answer[s], Yes, dear Guardian! Just the same . . . (Dickens 934).”

The hypotaxis style changes to a parataxis verb style on page 892, leaving the reader to interpret and to link back the participants in the society.

In Bleak House, Esther is the pill capable of curing society of its ills. Her marriage to Woodcourt is the perfect coming together: Woodcourt administers aid to the poor as a doctor. He is powerful with the capability of tolerating the poor without complaining about their disagreeable condition or any contagion they might spread.

For instance, to Joe, the doctor shows compassion; and he is gentle and patient and caring, recognizing what all the Mrs. Jellabys’ of society are too blind to ascertain: that charity begins at home, that the poor at home need the attention of the populace more than those abroad who are encroach upon with only a hope of the blind leading the blind.

Esther’s own blindness in her earlier illness reveals a sort of prophecy: “and the blind shall be made to see.” Esther is made to see. The scars on her face cannot hide the beauty within. She knows it is her duty to help others. Dickens makes it her duty to open the eyes of the public to a different attitude. Her presence exposes the ills of society.

For example, her mother marries for position, leaving love to the way side, causing her separation from her lover and from her illegitimate child, Esther. Jarndyce can be seen as a disciple, holding Ester’s hand and guiding her through society while she exposes the ills and then relinquishing her promise hand when the opportunity arises to unite her housekeeping cures with the doctor able to administer the cures necessary for the poor.

Woodcourt, her husband, remarks to her, when she looks in the mirror, that her beauty within is shining through. Esther, herself, recognizes it is not only her husband that administers an antidote to society. This reflects and emphasizes her narrative comment through the use of the uppercase “M” to express Me when she reflects the reaction of the community to her as Mrs. Woodcourt.

Esther holds the key to the housekeeping chores of society; Mr. Jarndyce gives her the key. Hence, it is only proper that with her marriage to Woodcourt, she shall come to be the housekeeper of the new Bleak House, capable of curing the ills of society.

An Interpretation of History based on the Novel The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald and an essay: The Fact of the Force

 By Trudy A. Martinez

The Beautiful and Damned, a novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald who succumbs to alcoholism as an escape from his reality, the reality of his transgressions, and writes this book in restitution and as a release from his own pain of realization (so it is believed). The main characters in his novel suffer from a similar reality of transgression as they struggle down different paths towards achievement of their dreams of materialism.

In the end, they achieve it; or they struggle, experiencing hardships, tribulations, ruthless misery, loneliness, and then rewards of satisfaction and self-worth without succumbing to the materialism they desperately seek in the beginning.

The book centers around a young twenty-five (25) year old man, Anthony Patch, a Harvard graduate in the state of sublimity, who thinks of himself in the highest esteem with greatness as a destiny, and inherit wealth, a money aristocracy, gained through the achievements of his grandfather. Anthony is the grandson of Adam J. Patch, known as “Cross Patch”, a man who went from rags to riches playing the stock market on Wall Street, accumulating seventy-five million dollars and a guilty conscience. Although Fitzgerald begins the story in 1913, the actual plot begins in the year 1861 with the grandfather who works his way through the new impersonal forces of a nation destined to turn into a capitalistic society and damnation to some.

The grandfather comes to the realization of his transgressions and seeks restitution through reforms, but yet, he begins to force feed his morality and values upon Adam, his grandson, just as he was force feed in 1861 by the new society. Adam’s grandfather uses criticism as a tool molding Adam, I. e., conditioning through the practice of behaviorism; introducing patriotism through inducement to write about the war effort; stressing individualism through emphasis away from oneness towards sameness by restricting free will; producing optimism through the establishment of inheritance, a reward for progress which ultimately produces materialism as a symbol of acceptance. The Stewards of the system, the Presidents are guardians for the rich; they insure the stability of the system through reforms and through necessary changes, amendments to the constitution to induce gratification; to protect property; to protect individual rights; to regulate industry; to investigate deviations and corruption; and to monitor aggressors; and progress, and monetary rewards.

Adam J. Patch, Anthony’s grandfather, who in 1861 joins the war effort, a Union Calvary regiment in the Civil war, advances in rank to a major. Upon his return from the war, Adam sees opportunity for gain; he joins the speculators on Wall Street, the rich, the social elite, in the buying and selling of stock in their new religion, capitalism. “Cross Patch” converts; he gains much ill will, attempting to rub elbows with the rich. While at the same time, another segment of society (others of his own caliber) cheers and applauds as they also join the new aristocracy, the money elite, in their flight upward through the “Impersonal Forces”. Adam’s journey begins with his introduction to Nationalism through his Patriotism and taking up of arms to fight for the Union cause; he replaces his values, his uniqueness, his oneness, and his “love of man” in individualism for a false sense of “oneness”, i.e., “sameness”, a partnership, in all endeavors, in work, and later in marriage. In the Civil war, he fights for a false freedom, the end of slavery, the emancipation of the blacks.

A new freedom guaranteed through the constitution, the bible of the social elite, now expands to include Capitalism which differs slightly from the original views of the fore fathers of America. Through Optimism, his hope for a better tomorrow establishes his desires; his achievement reassure his dream. Adam sees through progress of industrialization he can subordinate the Impersonal Forces to guide him to the new ultimate destiny, Capitalism, the temple of the rich, and a new aristocracy of the money elite. As a reward for his progress he gains Materialism, a symbol of acceptance, progressivism, and a new Article of Faith. He hears the common man’s cry of despair, and turns his back on their voice of Hope which introduces through Populism and progressivism an alternative to struggle through Socialism. The new aristocracy recognizes the introduction of Marxism as an artificial retaliation to Capitalism with no merit, no method of application, or any real threat. The common man’s dilemma justifies itself through the theory and practice of Social Darwinism, Herbert Spencer’s economic and social application of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, “Survival of the Fittest” which upholds the Paternalism of The Gospel of Wealth, Carnegies’ contribution, and the form of slavery so nice to society and murderous to the common man. To give in to the common man’s cry will be an injustice and against their “god’s” will for only the “chosen” are to survive the living hell of their existence.

“Cross Patch” did not suffer, he rose to the temple, but yet, falls; succumbs to the reality of his transgressions as he seeks escape through Alcoholism. Illness besets him; sclerosis redeems him to consecration of his past. “He becomes a reformer of reformers.” As a means of restitution, he attacks the escape mechanisms of despair for which he himself resorts; the deceitful decay of his values damns him to obligatory obscurity.

When Anthony’s grandfather marries, he marries well into a social acceptable family; his marriage bares him a son, Adam Ulysses Patch, Anthony’s father. Adam Ulysses Patch grows-up dull, an overrated, superficial, selfish man, and a continuation of Adam Patch himself. Ulysses marries a Boston socialite; the marriage produces one child, Anthony. When Anthony is five years old, his mother dies. Anthony and his father, Adam Ulysses Patch, go to live with his grandfather, Adam J. Patch.

Anthony gets continual empty and unfulfilled promises of togetherness, leaving him disillusioned because his father’s promise of tomorrow never comes. When his father finally follows through with a promise and takes Anthony on a trip abroad, he dies suddenly, leaving Anthony in a panic of despair. Anthony’s impressionable childhood years, five through eleven fills his life with death and despair. He lost both parents and his grandmother. As a diversion to his grief and a struggle against death, Anthony withdraws, indulges nearly his whole existence into an uncontrollable hobby of stamp collecting, his childhood escape from the reality of his meaningless existence. Anthony never feels nurture or love with both a paternal (conditional) and maternal (unconditional) balance in his life.

“He [lives] almost entirely within himself, an inarticulate boy, thoroughly un-American, and politely bewildered by his contemporaries.”

While schooling abroad a tutor successfully convinces Anthony to go to Harvard, as it will open doors for him, earn him friends, and social acceptance. So Anthony does, he goes to Harvard. After graduation at the age of twenty, he returns to Rome, and acquires culture. Anthony’s shyness as a result of his childhood conditioning and childhood withdrawal hinders him and dictates his conduct for the balance of his life.

Anthony returns to America in 1912 after learning of his grandfather’s illness, sclerosis. In America, he finds himself amidst the feverish election of 1912 which offers too many choices, i.e., William Howard Taft, the President, a Republican, is caught in intense battles between the progressives and conservatives; the progressive on-slaughter produces a split in the Republican Party when Theodore Roosevelt, a Progressive, bolts to lead the Progressives on the Bull Moose platform of his “New Nationalism, “which highlights conservationism; William Jennings Bryan, a Democrat and Populist, now faces an opposition with an eastern progressive Taft and a western progressive Taft in addition to a conservative Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, whose program of a “New Freedom” based on individualism and states’ rights. The break in the Republican Party soon ensures the election of Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, with his “New Freedom” policy to the White House and the Presidency with William Jennings Bryan as his Vice-President.

Anthony deserts his plans to live abroad; he decides to resign himself from his personal ambitions until after his grandfather’s death. Adam dreams of the day his grandfather will die, so he can inherit his fortune and live a life of luxury. Adam didn’t work, never worked, and did not intend to work; his income comes from interest on money he inherits from his mother. He contemplates writing as a career, but isn’t able to commit a single line to paper. Someday, someday, someday, never today; always tomorrow, empty devastating promises; just as his father conditioned him through behaviorism. Anthony continually finds incommoding escapes from reality.

Anthony is the recipient of negative, critical observations of his Grandfather’s scrutiny. Everything about Anthony’s life is pre-ordained through the conditioning of hereditary compromise, “Damned.” His “hope” and dream of writing about the middle ages are met with asperity by his grandfather, leaving him with a sense of despondency. Adam Patch lives his life voluptuously a legacy for which Anthony’s vanity is damned.

Anthony imagines:

“himself in Congress rooting around in the litter of that incredible pigsty with the narrow and porcine brows he saw pictured sometimes in the rotogravure sections of Sunday newspapers, those glorified proletarians babbling blandly to the nation the ideas of high school seniors! Little men with copy-book ambitions who by mediocrity had thought to emerge from mediocrity into the lusterless and unromantic heaven of a government of the people—and the best, the dozen shrewd men at the top, egotistic and cynical, were content to lead this choir of white ties and collar-buttons in a discordant and amazing hymn, compounded of a vague confusion between wealth as a reward of virtue and wealth as a proof of vice, and continued cheers for God, the Constitution, and the Rocky Mountains!”

Anthony begins to look for something beautiful in life, something or someone who will help bring him out of disparity. When Anthony meets Gloria Gilbert, the most beautiful woman he has ever seen, who shares the same dreams and the same escapes, he falls passionately in love, and soon marries her. The minister who marries them takes on the air of bourgeois with flashy gold teeth. Both Anthony and Gloria share the same dream, the dream of the day they will be filthy rich. Once they marry, they share their dream as if in partnership; the dream is their future, that triumphant day when Adam Patch dies; they find endless ways of relieving their boredom while they wait to inherit luxury by spending money way above Anthony’s income; and they even purchase an automobile in the fury of materialism sweeping the capitalistic society of America. Anthony and Gloria sink deeper and deeper into the escape mechanisms, using the sensationalism stirring the country as an excuse for their excessive indulgence. They have nothing except the stench of liquor and cigarettes to show for the money spent. They eat, drink, and make merry, while running from their own existence; they contemplate the death of Adam’s grandfather and the celebration of life thereafter as successors to his wealth. The hedonic nature of their existence, their devotion to happiness and gratification full of pleasure, which clouds their succulent dream of riches, is their goal.

In the year 1913, the Progressive Movement blooms; President Wilson maneuvers major legislation through congress, the Underwood Act to lower tariffs and its attachment, a graduated income tax; and the Federal Reserve Act to provide elasticity to the money supply.

War breaks out in Europe, growing into a World War. World War I stimulates the American economy through trade with war filled countries. Woodrow Wilson, the President of the United States, manages to keep America out of the war, while at the same time tending to some of the restitution of guilt for the money and social elite through progressive reform legislation. In 1914 an antitrust legislation establishes a Federal Trade commission to prohibit unfair business practices. Then in 1916, another burst of legislation brings new laws which prohibit child labor and limit railroad workers to an eight-hour day. Because President Wilson’s hard work produces those and other reforms and the slogan, “he kept us out of war,” Wilson narrowly wins the 1916 presidential race and reelection to the office of the Presidency. Up till this time, government protects business over an individual (religion became a business, and corporations consider themselves individuals under the constitution). It appears to the public as if the individual, the common man, is finally becoming a protected concern of the government.

Criticism enters Anthony and Gloria’s relationship, criticism of others and each other. They travel and squander money on endless drunken parties. Anthony attempts to work, but finds self-assurance and opportunism wins out over technical knowledge in Capitalistic America, so he resigns. With no ambition, but he continually attempts to please his grandfather.

“Anthony completed a Chestertonian essay on the twelfth century by way of introduction to his proposed book.”

An essay, Anthony’s grandfather will never admit to reading. He suggests Anthony write about the Germans, offers to pay expenses, that is, as long as he conforms to his grandfather’s values. Anthony’s grandfather objects to Anthony’s curiosity and need to write about the era of the “Dark Ages”? Is there a secret in this period of history that will reveal a mystery of mankind that some men want to be kept a secret?

At one of their drunken parties Maury gives his thinking on some secrets, but “Maury’s adaptation left his friend disappointed and Gloria had shown her disinterest by falling asleep.” Then again at a later date, Anthony and Gloria join friends and a drunken party ensues. Adam Patch, who that very day gives funds to help the national cause of prohibition, decides to disinherit Anthony (without Anthony’s knowledge) after an abrupt unannounced and unexpected visit to see Anthony and Gloria at their summer home. He appalls at the sight of a wild drunken party in progress; he condemns Anthony because of the unrighteous way he is pursuing life. A lifestyle he also employs in his youth.

Both Anthony and Gloria are in a state of panic from the realization of his grandfather’s visit. They ponder ways to make up with his grandfather with righteousness. All attempts fail. They move back to New York City, where they find inflation accelerates the cost of an apartment to above one-third of their income; their income dwindles. Anthony continues to seek restitution and forgiveness from his grandfather, but is kept from his grandfather’s sight.

When Adam Patch dies, all the newspapers relish in the opportunity to tell of his riches and dream of industrialism using tainted propaganda (they avoid mentioning Adam’s attempts to make restitution for the error of his ways through the reforms he sponsors and finances). When Anthony discovers to his dismay, he is not mentioned in the will of his grandfather, he decides to contest the will. The newspapers have a heyday when the terms of the will are made public and also print items concerning Anthony’s suit. Rumors run amuck and Anthony becomes bitter. Anthony’s bitterness increases as he is reminded of the cruelty of life with the death of a proud man, who dies from the indirect actions of some young thugs; a man who obviously got caught up in the Impersonal forces and reduced to a job beneath his stature, the job of a janitor in the building where Anthony lives. When Gloria gets an inheritance after the death of her mother, Anthony learns her beliefs differ from his and he and Gloria begins to argue more and more as they both begin to sink further and further into obscurity. All Anthony’s attempts to becoming a successful writer fail. They again live for today. The beautiful Gloria enters the glamorous motion picture industry as an illumination of her beauty against Anthony’s wishes. Their animosity for each other grows and so does their criticism.

The British intercept and communicate to Washington, D.C., A secret order, the Zimmermann notes, which instructs the German foreign minister to invite Mexico and Japan to join the Central power, (if the United States joins the war effort) and offers the booty of lost lands in the southwest to Mexico as an enticement. Wilson publicized the Zimmermann note to win votes for his proposal of arming American merchant ships and employ other means necessary to protect American vessels and citizens at sea. Wilson states, “No one was immune from the German aggression”. Journalism assists Wilson; they cry and shout hysterically about the evil morals, philosophy, and music of the Teutonic characteristics of Germany, stirring up the American people to correct the world situation and go to the aid of England and France, who are on the side of God, in their fight for glory.

Then on April 2, 1917, Woodrow Wilson reverses his previous stanch of emphasis on the individual when the United States of America declares war on Germany and enters the war on the side of the Allies. All meaningful legislation Wilson maneuvers through congress suddenly become obsolete, e.g., the Underwood Act which lowers tariffs on imports is now useless as in time of war there are no imports; the Federal Trade Commission to prohibit unfair business practices is worthless as the government contracts with big business (exclude small business) for urgently needed war materials.

America’s interest in the First World War begins with an increase Nationalism in 1898, when America declares war on Spain. The Spanish-American War is the signal of America’s entrance into “Imperialism”. The culmination of Nationalism and Imperialism are the indirect cause of America’s entrance into the First World War and of the World War itself. The question to the President and to the congress from big business investors who invest heavily through-out the world and especially in England, our mother country, is: “How [can] America remain isolated in foreign affairs when Americans [stands] to lose so much?”

With the end of the American Revolution, Quincey Adams, then President of the United States, took America into Isolationism for the purpose of staying out of foreign affairs and European wars. Woodrow Wilson, on the other hand, wants to end the Isolation of America and involve America in foreign affairs for the purpose of greedy Imperialist who plan America’s entrance into the First World War. Woodrow Wilson becomes their partner in this endeavor; he is a very clever man, who thinks “God” ordains him. He pursues the “Politics of Morality”. He is a southern white Presbyterian, who is out to save America and is now out to save the world.

The best and the brightest, the aristocrats, the alumni of three or four Eastern colleges, join the war efforts by applying for officer school. Anthony, however, is determined to be unfit for service as his ideals are un-American. West Point emerges. The propaganda of journalism guides Americans causing a sudden shift in attitudes. Everything is glorious, every race, (except the German race) is a great race. The previous outcasts and scapegoats now join the armed forces and are forgiven. Patriotic citizens favor the arm forces with alcoholic drinks all across America.

The sign of the times adds to Anthony’s disparity. When Anthony receives word the jury bases its decision on the immorality of his lifestyle, the verdict they deliver favors the testator; Anthony reciprocates by appealing the decision as he feels the fortune is his birthright.

Government institutes the selective service act which includes all qualified men regardless of social position.

“All males between the age of 21 and 30 were ordered to personally appear at their polling place in the Election District in which they reside.”

The purpose of appearance is to register for the draft. The war effort produces two million volunteers and three million draftees. This allows Anthony to enter the war as a private with no mention of the previous reason for his exclusion as an officer. Anthony, an aristocrat by birth right, is destined to rub elbows with the lower classes, to see the growing dissension first hand and the impersonal forces at work, the behaviorism tactics thrust upon the men with the malice of school boys, the odd and playful fancy of all army administration, the stressing secession of immeasurable detail, the indignity of the common man’s position, the breaking of man’s spirit, the changing of values, the fears, the disappointments, the hate, the lies, the regret, the emotional unstable war.

It is too late, he is no longer an individual; he is a puppet, lacking the ability to make a decisions on his own. Anthony moves from one disparity to another, doubt is born; he is nervous, irritable, afraid, and angry at the world. It is then he makes a fatal error in judgment; he lies and suffers the consequences as he sinks deeper into depression and a drunken daze. His punishment, confinement; Anthony is going mad; he feels a sense of terror, a fearsome ménage of horror. He exhausts himself and becomes ill with his release from confinement.

“He was aware that his illness was providential. It saved him from a hysterical relapse.”

Mail from Gloria requires his attention as Anthony and Gloria grew further and further apart. The war is near an end. Anthony did not leave the states; his imprisonment at Camp Mills is an enigma. The camp is under quarantine from influenza; it is a filthy, windswept, cold, dreary muddle, a breeding place for disease. When word comes the enemy, Germany, is ready to surrender. West Pointers become angry because the war is going to stop before they get a chance to go overseas. Then suddenly the war appears over and Anthony is on his way home to New York to Gloria. There is a celebration in the air; people are drunk with happiness and alcohol.

Gloria’s life apart from Anthony brings her to the realization her once close friends are not really friends, but mere acquaintances, selfish and unfulfilling. Her own morals diminish. Anthony is a stranger to her, someone from her distant past. She is filled with memories and with regret for not living her life differently, for not succumbing to her birthright of motherhood. But now she is faced with Anthony and the possibility of fulfilling a mutual dream of being filthy rich. Things change, prices highly inflate; their income dwindles further; the stocks drop, and their investments are not paying; they both sink into disparity and engulf in parties and alcohol again. Their life is like a yo-yo, up, down, up, down. Anthony (in need) takes the job of a salesman, selling stock to those who cannot afford them; he is destined to failure. Their dollars shrink not only in amount, but also in purchasing power.

As the need for war materials end, America is suddenly sent backward. President Wilson travels abroad to Paris, France, leaving his responsibility and legacy of the Presidency and the American people behind. He is greeted as no other ever was greeted, he thinks, as the “savior” of the world. Wilson comes equipped with his famous fourteen points to bring peace to the world, a way to end all wars, through application of the fourteenth point, the League of Nations. The League of Nations allows reason to prevail in settlement of the problems of the world. There is evidence of starvation on the streets of Europe; the swollen stomachs of young children also suggest malnutrition. President Wilson is no match for the other three great powers at the peace conference. Britain’s Lord George, France’s George Clemenceau, and Italy’s Orlando are ruthless, greedy, domineering, authoritarians with stubborn revengeful streaks: their deceitful pride does not allow Germany, the loser of the war, to sit in the conference for peaceful resolutions. A big mistake, a mistake that will cost the world greater destruction; it will spark the attitudes and actions of those responsible for the “Treaty of Versailles”. Woodrow Wilson makes grave errors as the President of the United States, he listens to the money elite, he leaves America unguided for six months, he fails to appoint an influential Republican to the America delegation at the peace conference, and he thinks of himself as the “savior” of the world which leaves him vulnerable to his fate. Getting ill in Paris forces him to trust others and forces him to compromise beyond his original beliefs. When Wilson returns home, he faces unbearable world embarrassment as the Senate will not sign nor recognize his achievements, the “Treaty of Versailles” and the fourteenth point, the League of Nations. The President succumbs to his fate and collapses, leaving America to the wolves and his second wife.

Rapid growing unemployment emerges at the end of the war and the American attitude suddenly changes; they are disillusioned, alienated, and feel abandoned. The working class, the common man, is disciplined as strikes break out all over America and businesses refuse to cooperate with the need and the demands for higher wages. Investment and get rich quick schemes flourish. Old prejudices arise once again; organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and the NAACP emerge working against each other when needs of dissention are planted by big business and journalism, thus resulting in race riots. Prohibition brings more drinking.

“To have liquor was a boast, almost a badge of respectability.”

The Jazz age blossoms, a “live for today” attitude, a form protest of the times, and age of nonconformity and dissent, allowing sexual permissiveness to lead to a decline in morals in urban America. Big business and Journalism produce a Red Scare that drives an unjustified fear into the hearts of the common people. The Red Scare is brought on by the fears of big business of the new communist party, a combination of Marxist-Lenin theory which arises out of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and sends chills down the backs of the capitalistic business world. Lenin believes only revolution throughout the world will bring about the culmination of Marx’s theory of the Dialectic, communism, and Lenin’s theory of implementation through force. Lenin says to the communist people, “We must send professionals, professional revolutionaries, through-out the world and make it happen”. Take over the world from the owners of the means of production, the Capitalist. When Journalism capitalizes using propaganda to influence the people of America against such notions, the result is the “Red Scare”. The propaganda of Journalism causes man to go against his neighbor, his friends, snitching becomes an everyday practice, and the feeling that no one can be trusted begins to take over society. America has been censored, and it is back to Isolationism, dramatic plays get labels of pornography and art leads to extreme reactions of delight or discuss.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations, the FBI, is established to investigate suspect aliens and radicals under the strenuous, inhumane campaign of Attorney General Palmer. Hundreds of Russians who are not guilty of any crimes, nor communists, get deported; six thousand people, mostly American citizens, are arrested (prompted by suspicion) and taken from their homes without cause, warrants, or justification, and then held against their will. There is no evidence of a communist plot, but few Americans speak out because of the false illusion journalism makes. Palmer continues to send false messages of fear to the American people, causing mass hysteria, coupled with the fear of an unknown. The government allows the Attorney General to violate the constitutional rights of thousands of Americans under a false pretext of a revolution, a fear of communism, an unjust fear, that starts with business, the owners of the means of production, as a method to prevent revolution as they know their oppression of the working class is unjust and can result in revolution with the help of the communist. The remembrance of the historical French Revolution is still fresh in the mind of the greedy capitalist.

It is back to “Isolationism” when Warren G. Harding wins the election of 1920. He is a weak man who uses pompous phrases with no definite appeal, who “looked like a President”, who likes the taste of whiskey, and who lets the machine bosses set the policies.

“By 1923 the post war depression seemed to be giving way to a new surge of prosperity,–‘less government in business and more business in government’”. “Advantages rather than responsibility were also the goal of the representative of business and finance who shaped the domestic policies of the Harding Administration.”

Harding’s soap box approach gives way to a bubble that bursts by dirt of a scandal, the Teapot Dome Scandal, which is conveniently withheld from the public until the day after his questionable death.

Sigmund (Sex) Freud, the Jewish German, introduces his Freudian theory of the Libido, the ego, superego and the Id, the selfishness of man, the “I want” struggle of the conscious and the unconscious mind for the pleasure and gratification, a theory that becomes his passport out of Germany at the onset of World War II, his escape from death at the hands of the fascist movement of Adolph Hitler who rises out of a quilt filled Germany to bring destruction and death to the world as restitution for their transgressions against Germany, the superior race. Freudianism gives rise to Narcissism as an explanation for the common man’s dilemma. The Freudian theory, based on the Capitalistic society, reaffirms and conveniently compliments “Capitalism. In actuality man’s narcissism is a direct result of the Capitalistic society replacing the values of man from “Oneness with God” and “Oneness with Man” to “Sameness”, a concept of partnership, in marriage, in work, in all endeavors, giving man Materialism, Narcissism, Alcoholism, Sexism, Darwinism, and justifying the “Paternalism” of the Capitalistic societies Gospel of Wealth, the form of slavery that is so nice to society and murderous to the common man.

Gloria’s self-esteem declines abruptly into paranoia as she realizes her beauty and freshness is fading and is replaced with wrinkles. Along with Gloria’s beauty, her love for Anthony also fades, but she stays faithfully by him in their partnership of marriage even as he sinks deeper and deeper into his alcoholic escape. They still share the same dream of riches.

When the dream comes to be reality and Anthony recovers the family fortune by winning the lawsuit, Adam Patch’s estate, the legacy of Anthony’s birthright, it appears to be too late for Anthony, he appears beaten, and he withdraws once again to his childhood obsession. Had Anthony’s victory come too late? Was his victory now his damnation? There is no turning back. If Anthony was given his grandfather’s estate without a fight, his reaction may have differed; he may have succumbed to materialism. But now all Anthony can do is reminisce, to look back on his hardships, his tribulations, his ruthless misery, his loneliness, and his justification in obtaining his birth right, an autocracy. He is no longer materialistic in his thinking.

“Great tears stood in his eyes, and his voice was tremulous as he whispered to himself. “I showed them,” she was saying. “It was a hard fight, but I didn’t give up and I came through!”

What then is his gain? Is not the advantage of a money autocracy, a form of materialism and Anthony’s gain? Anthony diverts the Impersonal Forces and takes responsibilities for his own life. He does this without succumbing to Materialism. It is not for us to judge Anthony. Anthony’s “hope”, his optimism, is his inheritance; he gains satisfaction when he gains his birthright, his inheritance. Anthony’s previous actions reflect the mood and the atmosphere of the post war era of World War I. The post war era of World War I and World War II differ.

“Franklin D. Roosevelt assuming the Presidency at the depth of the Great Depression helped the American people regain faith in themselves. He brought hope as he promised prompt, vigorous action, and asserted in his Inaugural Address, ‘the only thing we have to fear is fear itself’.”

Approximately three months after Roosevelt is elected to the Presidency, America sinks to its lowest point in the Great Depression. Thirteen Million people are unemployed and almost every bank closes. Roosevelt is a man of action destined to reestablish the faith in Capitalism.

“In the first ‘hundred days’, he proposed, and congress enacted, a sweeping program to bring recovery to business and agriculture, relief to losing farms and homes, and reform, especially through the establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority.”

Businessmen and bankers fear the actions of Roosevelt and dislike the Nation being taken off the gold standard, the deficit budget, and the concessions made to labor. Businessmen and bankers are unwilling to pay for the changes, but they reaped the rewards through Materialism and want to keep them. Roosevelt is a man of action and knows these actions are necessary to prevent a possible revolution from within with the growing unrest of the middle classes; he responds with new programs of reform:

“Social Security, heavier taxes on the wealthy, new controls over banks and public utilities, and an enormous work relief program for the unemployed.” ‘In 1936 he was re-elect —-he sought legislation to enlarge the Supreme Court, which had been invalidation key New Deal measures. Roosevelt lost the Supreme Court battle, but a revolution in constitutional law took place. Thereafter the government could legally regulate the economy.”

Roosevelt pledges a “good neighbor” policy against aggressors in the Western hemisphere which transform the Monroe Doctrine, a doctrine America now feels they have the strength to protect. Roosevelt seeks to keep America out of the European wars while pledging to help nations that are under threat or attack. America is to remain neutral? How can America remain neutral and follow the contradicting policies put into effect? The President is given power to implement embargoes that threaten or attack other nations. Problems arise all over Europe. Japan becomes aggressive again and Germany unifies under their fascist leader, Adolph Hitler. The French fall to Germany’s aggression. Aid short of war is the policy of foreign affairs in America. With this attitude, war is inevitable.

Through Roosevelt, America helps to strengthen the countries that will eventually retaliate against it because America suddenly becomes unable to defend the Monroe Doctrine as Roosevelt pledges. The Philippines, America’s stepping stone to Asia, is in jeopardy to Japan. Roosevelt feels the salvation of the world peace will ultimately depend upon the relations between opposites, i.e., Russia, the communist, and the United States, the capitalist. Therefore, he devotes his energies to the planning of the United Nations, the afterbirth of Wilson’s fourteenth point.

When Japan retaliated against America redirected into global warfare. Internally the American political machine  retaliated the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, by focusing America’s efforts  upon citizens of Japanese descent, removing them from their homes against their free will into what is referred to as protective custody, imprisonment, stripping them of their due rights as Americans; rights guaranteed them by the Constitution. In times of war Americans have no rights. Roosevelt’s health deteriorates. He dies in 1945 just prior to the close of the war, Harry Truman, Roosevelt’s successor, is not informed of the developments and difficulties of the wartime problems that suddenly come to be his problems to solve. He tells reporters:

“I felt like the moon, the star, and all the planets had fallen on me.”

During World War II he headed the Senate war investigating committee, checking into waste and corruption and saving perhaps as much as fifteen billion dollars.

As President, Truman faces crucial decisions. At first he follows Roosevelt policies, policies which damn America into becoming a police state for the correction of world unrest, pledging the lives of Americans to solve world problems while at the same time ignoring the suffering needs of Americans at home; he witnesses the signing of the United Nations charter. But it isn’t long before he develops his own policies.

“He presented to Congress a 21-point program, proposing the expansion of Social Security, a full employment program, a permanent Fair Employment Practices Act, public housing and slum clearance. The program, Truman wrote, ‘symbolizes for me my assumption of the office of President to my own right.’ It became known as the Fair Deal.”

Truman retaliated against Japan after sending a warning shot of fear into the world and bringing the world to a peaceful means of communications, the coalition of the United Nations and the entrance of America into a Cold War, a military dominated complex. Truman campaigns successfully in 1948 against Dewy, the same man who tells the Spanish governor to get out of the Philippines when America declares war on Spain and helps allow American big business to take its first greedy step into Imperialism. With Truman as President, America does not revert back into Isolationism as it did during post World War I; instead, America pursues the “Truman Doctrine”, the Marshall Plan which stimulates economic recovery in war-torn Western Europe. Truman takes the stanch to fight against aggression rather than feed and nourish it. He negotiates a military alliance to protect Western nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. When postwar antagonism utilizes aggression to bring about communism in Korea, America along with the United Nations holds a line above the old boundary keeping the war a limited one.

When Truman gives his address to the nation in 1948, he states his views outright:

“We have rejected the discredited theory that the fortunes of the nation should be in the hand of a privileged few, instead, we believe that our economic system should rest on a democratic foundation and that wealth should be credited for the benefit of all. The recent election shows that the American people are in favor of this kind of society. Every segment of our population and every individual has a right to expect from his government a fair deal.”

Truman meets with opposition from business and congress in implementing his strategies; he wins some, and loses some. Truman seeks a “war against world poverty”, but is hindered by business and congress from achieving the same justice for all the American people. Truman also meets with opposition in his efforts in Korea from the military. General McCarthy voices opposition to Truman by making allegations. The Tyding Committee declares McCarthy works a “fraud and a hoax”, but the backlash of the Korea war gives McCarthy an audience which produces another Red Scare sending school children under their desks in fear of atomic bombs; these scare tactics continue in force until 1953, but are not held with the severity as they are in the previous scare of 1919:

“Slander, lies, character assassinations—these things are a threat to every single citizen everywhere in this country. When even one American—who has done nothing wrong—is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth, then all Americans are in peril.”

How is true justice to prevail in America when men like Truman, who fight for the individual, are made to look silly under the false threats of communism brought on by the fear of business paying their fair share of wars which are of their making and for their profit or prevention of losses in their Materialism? Truman is a man of the people who fights for legislation and reforms that help the common man. Under Truman the common man is not reduced to the bread lines with the severity of oppression from big business as they are in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Truman listens to what the people say and makes his intention know to follow the designs of America people, when Eisenhower is elected President in 1952, he plays along with the game of politics, but in his farewell address he seeks restitution and warns America of things to come:

“The conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every State house, and every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need of this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved, so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisitions of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted . . . Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial military posture, has been the technical revolution during recent decades . . . The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present—and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we would, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy would itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite (January 17, 1961).”

In conclusion, the Steward of the rich, the President, is merely a guardian for the rich, whose policies differ from guardian to guardian, giving only the minimum amount of change or adjustment to prevent revolution and establish “hope” or reestablish faith in the system. There is but one exception, Harry S. Truman who becomes the President because of the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Truman’s administration during the postwar era of World War II brings changes to the American society, helps the common man, through establishment and revisal of reforms, thus preventing or attacking the abuse, massive oppression, discrimination, and fears that were felt by the common man and the middle class in America at the hands of big business and government in the post-World War I era under Harding.

And in my opinion, the Capitalistic Society is a nation whose processes, rewards, and acceptance through Materialism can be the damnation to one’s soul if an individual chooses the wrong path upward through the impersonal forces toward an American dream. However, it is also a reward (through non-conformity) because under the Capitalistic society the freedom of choice of which road to take on the travel upward through the impersonal forces toward the American dream is left up to the individual, not the government.

A Nail Stuck, An Analysis of Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie”

By Trudy A. Martinez

When reading The Glass Menagerie, one feels pity for Tom because his mother mistreat him; this is such a tragedy. She places the entire responsibility of the family upon his shoulders, as if to fulfill a fallacy: There has to be a man in the house if woman is to survive. Time changes with the World War, allowing women to enter the work force. However, Tom’s mother does not work, nor does she seek finding suitable work herself as a means of remedying their situation. Instead, she lives in an imaginary world, wanting her children to remedy the situation for her; she wants only to continue living her fantasy. The picture of the father symbolizes this obsession; it hangs in a most advantageous place: above them all–forever smiling.

The smiling father serves to remind Amanda of a tragic mistake. Yet, it is her “hawk like attention” at the dinner table, driving her son, which mostly catches a reader’s attention. How can anyone eat in peace with someone telling him or her how? “. . . Don’t push with your fingers . . . And chew—chew . . . Eat food leisurely, son” is Amanda’s dinner conversation (Williams 1464). It is surprising; Tom does not get indigestion. One might say, it is the mother’s place to correct her children; but Tom is not a child. Amanda obviously marries beneath her class structure as not many lower class bother to stress “[Eating] food leisurely” (Williams 1464). The lower classes are like slaves to the bourgeois; they are fortunate to have time to eat at all, much less leisurely. Tom refers to being a slave to his mother’s legacy during an argument with her. However, the children’s actions are a constant disappointment and never satisfying to the mother; she pre-judges them as failures. Even so, she is never discourages them from fulfilling goals for her through them.

On the other hand, the opposite is true of her offspring; both Tom and Laura are discouraged. They reject the goals their mother sets. What a tragedy Amanda cultivates through her constant search for perfection from her children. Her aggressive behavior to the fulfilling of her own goals (remaining in the past–her imaginary world– and regaining a higher status) has a reverse effect upon her children. This reflects her constant referral to “gentlemen callers” and through her fear of Tom not attaining higher money earning status and Laura not attaining a money earning status at all. She reminds Laura to “. . . study your typewriter chart . . . [and] . . . practice your shorthand . . .” While at the same time stating”, Stay fresh and pretty” [for men callers]! (Williams 1466). Knowledge is that “. . . aggression given full rein and allowed to run its course in a constant war of all against all, [jeopardizes] . . . survival. . . Clashing interests and social values underlie . . . human conflict” (Vander Zanden 370). Amanda’s clashing interest and aggression is not an exception. Her interest clearly clashes with the interests of her children. She lives only in the memory of her “social roots” where “charm” and an aggressive nature rein in the bourgeois class, a hierarchical structure she secretly wants to re-gain. Nonetheless, by seeking to regain her privilege status through her children, she becomes her own gatekeeper.

When Amanda makes herself the gatekeeper, she becomes susceptible to fate. The theme of The Glass Menagerie is one of vulnerability. What constitutes this concept? When one is vulnerable, are they not both trusting and unsuspecting? This is not the case with Amanda; she is suspicious and non-trusting. She flaunts her suspicious and non-trusting nature in the direction of her son by way of her continual interrogations, assumptions, and comparisons: “I think you’ve been doing things that your ashamed of . . . Nobody in their right minds goes to the movies as often as you pretend to . . . You remind me of your father [gone]” (Williams 1478-1492). Therefore, considering her vulnerable cannot be because of any action of Tom’s. His action only brings about the inevitable.

The inevitable came only after imagination came into conflict with reality. The breaking of the glass unicorn symbolizes the shattering of imagination by reality. Jim, the only realistic character in the play, is the one who bears a message of truth. He says, “Being disappointed is one thing and being discouraged is something else” (Williams 1498). However, it is not until the unicorn loses its horn that Laura is able to accept the Glass Menagerie for what it is: a collection of ornaments. The glass pieces represent an imaginary world where she is willfully imprisoned. At this point, her disappointment no longer discourages her. She is accepting of the realization that not only is the unicorn now like all the other glass ornaments but she is like everyone else. She is no longer a failure as her mother describes; she does not need to rely on imagination or deception to feel she is special. Her mother implies, “All pretty girls are a trap, a pretty trap, and men expect them to be” (Williams 1486). Laura’s perception of the situation differs. She acknowledges the difference when she says, “Maybe [breaking the unicorn’s horn off] is a blessing in disguise” (Williams 1502). Then later, she gives the unicorn that has lost its uniqueness to Jim as a souvenir.
Not long before, her brother gives Laura a souvenir, “. . . a shimmering, rainbow-colored scarf . . . Tom had told her that it was a ‘magic scarf’.” All “You [have to do is] wave it over a gold-fish bowl and they [will] fly away canaries…” (Williams 1474).

The goldfish bowl is symbolic of the life Tom and Laura live in “human desperation” (Williams 1463) under the unchallenged hierarchy of their mother. Whereas, the “fly away canaries” suggest both Tom and Laura can turn into songbirds and fly away to escape from their mother’s tyranny. All it will take to make it happen is for Laura to wave the “magic scarf”. However, had Laura waved the scarp when she emerged from her imaginary world or Had Tom flew away too soon?

Tom shares with Laura his desire to leave so she is aware of his intent; she does not become vulnerable because he leaves. Instead, Tom is the vulnerable one because he flies away like a songbird without facing reality. He does not learn that “So long as boundaries and hierarchies go unchallenged, aggression is inhibited” (Vander Zanden 371). Tom is too trusting and unsuspecting of his own purpose. Therefore, he is unable to take an aggressive stand in his own freedom. Consequently, he becomes “. . . lost in space–” (Williams 1507).

In Tom’s time space, his memories pursue him and his imagination takes control. The most amazing thing he sees is when a magician “. . . got [himself] out of the coffin without removing one nail”. Tom wants to do the same. He tells Laura, “. . . it don’t take much intelligence to get yourself into a nailed-up coffin . . . But who in hell ever got himself out of one without removing one nail?” (Williams 1474).

There is the constant reminder of his father’s smiling face that serves as a reminder: “If there is a will, there is a way”. Even so, did Tom find the way by leaving when he did? Alternatively, does he carry on the family legacy? He appears to have a nail stuck in his heart, which keeps him imprison in a coffin (a trap) of his own making, an imaginary world where he envisions the “tiny transparent . . . ‘colored glass’ . . . bottles . . . [as] . . . bits of [his] shattered rainbow”(Williams 1507). The shattered rainbow is symbolic of the “magic scarf” he gives Laura. His mother tells him he manufactures illusions! (Williams 1507). Yet, he does not challenge her position.

Consequently, he follows in her footsteps manufacturing illusions just as she did. As a result, he makes his own tragic mistake. If this is not the case, why does he continue to search for escapes or “–anything that [can] blow . . . out [the memories of Laura] “? (Williams 1507). The memories of Laura remind Tom of his tragedy just as the picture of his father’s smiling face serves to remind his mother of her own.

Work Cited

Williams, Tennessee. “The Glass Menagerie”. The Bedford Introduction to Literature.Michael Meyer, ed. Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press: Boston. 1990. 1462-1507.
Vander Zanden, James W. Social Psychology. Fourth Edition. Ohio State University. Random House: New York. 1987.

Noble Chivalry Shines, a Comparative Analysis of The Country Wife, The Mode of Man, and The Way of the World

By Trudy A. MartinezThe messages in the plays, The Country Wife, The Mode of Man, and The Way of the World, all communicate and center on a political universe. The supporting environment of the plays is not as obvious as the personal or social nature. Nevertheless, the representation of the characters is of a political nature. Through the comical characterizations of wit or lack of wit, the effectiveness, or weakness of an aristocratic perspective of honor, and respectability, (in regards to marriage and fidelity) falls upon public scrutiny. Each author contributes a viewpoint of the upper class populace deserving of corrective consideration. Only in Congreve’s The Way of the World is the matchless disposition of a true noble reached, justifying social statue, and claim over the money elite.

Comparing and contrasting the maneuvers and the characters of all three plays reveals the genius of Congreve’s complex Restoration comedy. Underneath the complex interaction of characters, there abides integrity of fair play, a perception of truth. Mirabell affirms this sense of truth. In the other two plays, there is not a solid match to Mirabell, although Dorimant comes close.
Where Dorimant lacks compassion for his former loves, Mirabell remains a friend, confidant, and an ultimate protector of Mrs. Fainall’s reputation and wealth; he preserves a faculty of obligation. Through this sense of commitment, the association with noble chivalry shines and ultimately emphasizes responsibility of the noble ruling class.

Fainall, at first, appears as a perfect Restoration wit (in the same class as Mirabell). Nevertheless, later, he reveals himself as a villain, materialistic in nature with interests only in money and prestige. In his attempts to deceive, Mirabell (a true-wit in a noble capacity) out maneuvers him, leaving none of the demands he makes to Mrs. Wishfort fulfilled.

In the play The Country Wife, Wycherley explores the ideals of the city life versus country life. Ironic situations reveal the nature of the social and personal worlds of the characters. The demeanor survey partially sums up both Horner’s and Pinchwife’s discussion of what constitutes consideration in the taking a wife. Horner thinks “…Wit is more necessary than beauty…” for he considers “…no woman ugly that has it, and no handsome woman agreeable without it” (Wycherley 13).

Dorimant shares a similar admiration for women possessing wit; he finds his match, and love in Harriet. On the other hand, it is not the intent of Horner to limit himself to one woman or to marry. Instead, he fixes his intentions on enjoying his liberty and everyone else’s wife. His elaborate scheme concocts to identify the willing and gain the confidence of the unsuspecting (the husbands). One of his prior statements sums up his ideology: “Wine gives you liberty” . . . and “love takes it away” (Wycherley 9).
In contrast to Horner’s ideology, Pinchwife considers, the general truth of the matter to be, that “. . . he’s a fool that marries, but he’s a greater [fool] that does not marry a fool . . . .” Pinchwife’s question reveals his reasoning, “What is wit in a wife good for, but to make a man cuckold? “ (Wycherley 13). Thus, Pinchwife justifies his method of chicanery by keeping a country wife as a whore. Through his actions, he believes he prevents himself from becoming cuckold by the deceitful practices of men like Horner.

The comedy of The Country Wife is set in motion in the opening line with an [aside] that confers clarity of meaning and necessity for the quack: “A quack is as fit for a pimp as a midwife for a bawd; they are still but in their way both helpers of nature.–” (Wycherley 4). The consequence of this line gives precedence to the technique of using [aside] (a device the French playwright Moliere employs in Tartuffe) to succeed in the realization of the comical affect. In addition, Quack’s verbal interaction with Horner furnishes the audience with firsthand knowledge of Horner’s devious purpose from the beginning of the play to the end.

As the play continues, a comical aspect of the social and personal worlds of the characters reveals the play’s direction by way of the cuckold dance.

Etherege’s play, The Man of Mode, takes an altogether different direction when Dorimant opens the play with an articulate reference to the French Bourbon grandson of Louis XIV of France and great-grandson of Phillip IV of Spain:

“Now, for some ages, had the pride of Spain
made the sun shine on half the world in vain.”

Thus, a focus of contrast between the French and English is set in motion. By proceeding in this manner, Etherege portrays the quality of nature following from a higher to lower level as if to suggest that political approaches are the cause of the deterioration of morals.

Consequently, an achievement highlights through the portrayal of the characters a counter balance between the two ideologies. Sir Fopling’s characterizing astutely archetypes the augmentation of the French upper class. Whereas, the characterization of Dorimant portrays England’s Prototype, born of title. Although Dorimant admits to the ideology of Hobbes that man is naturally depraved by saying, “Love gilds us over and makes us show fine things to one another for a time . . . soon the gold wears off, and then again the native brass appears”(Etherege 100), he does not accept the French King’s adaptation of the concept. Instead, he sees through the false claim to nobility by Sir Fopling. The procurement of Sir Fopling’s station in the social order (subjugated to Louis XIV) manifests through Sir Fopling’s social blunders and recognizable, exaggerates elegance and intelligence and then compares to the superior, natural wit and intelligence of the English noble through the interaction of the characters.

King Louis believes God give him a divine right of power and declares, “I am the State”. The theory of Hobbes, who states people are naturally brutal and nasty (and the government is established by them to protect themselves from themselves), gives Louis absolute power. The government is to govern the people; they have no choice but to be obedient. Stemming from this ideology, feudal nobles disappear as Louis gives honor and income to only those who earn his favor. As a result, the middle class are encouraged to purchase titles through opportunity. Mannerism reign supreme over morals.

On the other hand, the English see intelligence and wit as superior qualities. The English exercising their choice with the restoration of the Stuart Line after Cromwell’s military dictatorship fails highlight this difference. The belief is the people give the power to King Charles II and the people have the right to take that power away. Intelligence and wit are the indication of notable worth, although the rising upper class put more significance in wealth than did the social class.

Etherege effectively conveys the posture of the French and English through Dorimant (the true wit in The Man of Mode). Dorimant initiates the caricature significance of Sir Fopling’s position by sharing his observation of Sir Fopling when he says, “…he affects in imitation of the people of quality of France” (Etherege 89). The significance of Sir Fopling serves as a means of exaggerating the position of the money elite within the society, eager for fame and money–yet, irresponsible and somewhat ignorant.

Likewise, in The Way of the World, Fainall imitates the people of quality in England. At first, he appears as a perfect Restoration Wit when he says, “…The coldness of a losing gamester lessens the pleasure of winner. I’d no more play with a man that slighted his ill fortune than I’d make love to a woman who undervalued the loss of her reputation” (Congreve 157). Dorimant makes a similar assertion when he says, “I would not have a woman have the least good thought of me that can think well of Fopling” (Etherege 101). They both exhibit jurisdiction, dominance, and control over their conquests.

However, Dorimant is not greedy for wealth as is the case with Fainall. Fainall betrays himself. Consequently, his greed for money and prestige converts his characterization to a villain.

Sir Fopling’s presentation of himself absolves Dorimant’s delineation of Sir Fopling. For example, when errors make mispronouncing words in an attempt to flatter Dorimant, Sir Fopling enhances the status of his own ignorance, “I have not met with any . . . who retain so much of Paris as thou dost–the very air thou hadst when the marquise mistook thee I’ th’ Tuileries and cried ‘H’e, chevalier!’” (Etherege 109). Dorimant’s reply, “I would fain wear in fashion as long as I can, sir. ‘ Tis a thing to be a valued in men as well as baubles” (Etherege 109)) escapes the understanding of Sir Fopling. In other words, Sir Fopling is unable to cover up his ignorance with stylish clothes or mannerisms. Although Fainall is not as vain as Sir Fobling is in regard to mannerisms and dress, he lacks the integrity of that which is of value in men of quality and he exaggerates the relevance of material wealth.
In The Man of Mode, not much of the plot depends upon the interaction of the characters. Whereas, in The Way of the World, by the end of the first Act the whole plot is given away very cleverly through the interactions of Foible and Mrs. Fainall while the enemy listens in Lady Wishfort’s closet in Act III. A rivalry between the characters disengages the movement the plot, enhancing the complexity, and distinguishing Congreve’s style over the other playwrights.

For instance, a rivalry first begins in Act I with Mirabell and Fainall through Act V. The final Act exposes the distinguishing qualities of both men. When Fainall takes his stand, his statement reflects his greed, “If it must all come out . . .’tis but the way of the world. That shall not urge me to relinquish or abate one title of my terms; no, I will insist the more”(Congreve 214).

Nevertheless, Fainall is soon outwitted and surprised:
“What’s here? Damnation! [Reads] ‘A deed of conveyance of the whole estate real of Arabella Languish, widow, in trust to Edward Mirabell’. Confusion”! (Congreve 215). Mirabell answers, “Tis the way of the world, sir, the widows of the world.”

Mirabell saves the day. His planning and execution of Waitwell’s marriage to Foible puts him in control. Waitwell’s disguise as Sir Roland conveys a message: Only a servant can affectively imitate the upper crust without detection.

Although all the plays to some extent depict both the personal world and social world, Congreve does not flaunt the sexual aspects of the situations. The concept he portrays extends more towards exposure of the misrepresentation of the aristocracy by the money elite.
In The Country Wife, the play gives direction and then ends and in The Man of Mode, the play is open – ended, leaving the audience guessing whether Dorimant really changes. However, The Way of the World, issues a warning:

“From hence let those be warned, who mean to wed,
Lest mutual falsehood stain the bridal bed;
For each deceiver to his cost may find,
That marriage frauds too oft are paid in kind” (Congreve 217).

This statement revives noble chivalry with its warning.

Congreve, William. The Way of the World. The Restoration and eighteenthCentury Comedy. A Norton Critical Edition. Scott McMillin, editor. W.W. Norton & Company: New York. 1973. 152-217.
Etherege, George. The Man of Mode. The Restoration and Eighteenth- Century Comedy. A Norton Critical Edition. Scott McMillin, editor. W.W. Norton & Company: New York. 1973. 79-151.
Wycherley, William. The Country Wife. The Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Comedy. A Norton Critical Edition. Scott McMillin, editor. W.W. Norton & Company: New York. 1973. 3-78.

“Woman in Isolation” An Analysis of Hawthorne’s The Birth-mark

By Trudy A. Martinez

The title of Hawthorne’s short story The Birth-mark, gives significance to a congenital mark. Splitting the word birthmark by using a dash causes segregation and a discernment of meaning and a fragmenting preference, symbolizing isolation. As such, birth comes to mean existence, whereas mark imposes a visible sign that severs continuation. Consequently, in the story, the mark becomes an inherent element, serving as a symbol indicative of position, within the society and an object of scorn unworthy of consideration.

This perception of the birth-mark generates an irony. The Socratic irony is the reason the birth-mark not only surfaces on the face of Georgiana as a sign of an imperfect beauty but also surfaces as a symbol of woman within society. Consequently, the birth-mark’s representation serves to isolate.

Nevertheless, not all men within the society chose to view the birth-mark as an imperfection. For instance, Aminadab, a minor character, makes his membership in this category known when he displays a prevailing characteristic conforming to standards clearly conveying a sense of what is right and good. Aminadab conveys this “spirit and even…heart” when “he mutters to himself:–’If she were my wife, I’d never part with the birth-mark’” (Hawthorne 1159-1163). On the other hand, Georgiana’s husband, Aylmer, takes a distinctively different view of the birth-mark.

The narrator proclaims Aylmer’s belief that the birth-mark is “…the fatal flaw of humanity. . . .” Because of this recognition, his strong convictions and urgent desires emerge, communicating his being one of the “ardent votaries” of society. This becomes apparent when he attempts to alleviate “his wife’s liability” (Hawthorne 1159-1160). Consequently, Aylmer earmarks himself as a God; this distinction gives him “hope”.

However, the only “hope” Aylmer has is to join the love for his wife “. . . with the love for his science” because society defines his “. . . congenial . . . pursuits . . . .” Although these pursuits mark an agreement in sentiment, there is a possibility they might also produce an “aliment” in the process (Hawthorne 1159). Hence, an illusion of a distressed uneasy state occurs; this uneasy state or “aliment” becomes visible because the cultural society defines only two classes. Both of the classes are men. This inadequacy isolates Georgiana from Aylmer. Her isolation is evident because she is undefined. Therefore, she is without status or membership. Consequently, she is as one of the pursuits of her husband.

The narrator validates her as Aylmer’s pursuit when the narrator implies the pursuit is a “must” that must be “…wrought by toil and pain”. The only alternative Aylmer is given to save her from the “toil and pain” is to bring together the love of his wife “…with the love of his science” (Hawthorne 1159-1160).

The narrator’s statement–”it was not unusual for the love of science to rival the love of woman”–sets the atmosphere and tone of the story and brings about a theme of isolation that, in turn, brings about another rivalry in the form of a challenge (Hawthorne 1159). The theme of isolation intensifies what the challenge produces when Aylmer attempts to unite his love for science with his love for his wife. The challenge serves to isolate her because she is one of his pursuits. In this perspective, Aylmer is a hunter and Georgiana is his prey. She is challenged by a condition, demanding of a declining transition. He maintains superiority through his “glares” and “gazes” as if an animal is sizing-up his victim. In a sense, the society causes Aylmer’s extreme actions because the society creates “. . . a passive affect, [whereby] man is driven [by the ideology of the society], the object of motivations of which he himself is not aware” (Fromm 18). As a result, Hawthorne’s scientific man is able to accomplish his feat with very little difficulty because he is powerful and “more than a man . . . unwilling to grant the accessibility of other alternatives” (Baxter 231).

Aylmer is not willing to afford Georgiana alternatives because she symbolizes imperfection. Her birth-mark symbolizes the mark placed upon woman by the society when woman is left undefined. As a result, Georgiana’s only choice is to “do or die”. For what other reason will she submit, declare, and plead: “…Life is a [burden] which I would fling down with joy…for the sake of your…peace, and to save [myself]…from madness”. Her questioning remark: “Is this beyond your power…?” removes blame from Aylmer and places blame on society because society produces him (Hawthorne 1162).

Because of the question, “Is this beyond your power?” (Hawthorne 1162), society emerges as if it is a structure of dominoes falling downward upon its members. In other words, the society is the ruler of man (a God-like ornamentation) that produces and reproduces man in specific patterns as if imitating an original mold. This realization brings to mind a warning of Cotton Mather’s: “The mind of God in these matters, is to be carefully looked into, with due circumspection, that Satan deceive us not with his devices, who transforms himself into an angel of light and may pretend justice and intend mischief” (171).

If a society has the power to reproduce distinct patterns in men, then conceivably, man is (under the structure of the society) an image of the God-like ornamentation, which in effect establishes opposition to any imperfections that might threaten the perfection of the society.

Consequently, this reader tends to disagree with Fetterley’s realization that Georgiana died as a direct result of Aylmer’s “…ultimate goal [towards] the desire to create human life” or that “Hawthorne [wrote]…about the sickness of men, [or] …about the flawed and imperfect nature of women” (27).

Even though the symbol of imperfection is what surfaces on the face of Georgiana to denote Aylmer’s struggle towards obtaining superiority through the creation of perfection, the atmosphere and the tone of the story in the opening paragraph is what pushes the structure of dominoes downward and sets man and woman in opposition. The society defines rivalry; hence, rivalry becomes the consequential cause of the isolating effects, resulting in Aylmer’s quest of pursuits. His wife is his pursuits because society does not define her within its structure. As a result, society may be the only motive for the isolating effects that occur.

Therefore, and in conclusion, the title of the story symbolizes the principles of society that sets the path of the characters in The Birth-mark by linking and defining man’s choices. Thus, woman becomes a pursuit of man to rid society of imperfection. However, because the woman is his “love” he attempts to join her with “his love for science” to save her from “toil and pain” (Hawthorne 1159-1160). The structural image of society creates the image of man in the image of a God that flaunts his image downward towards woman and gives her no choice other than to surrender to his will. Just as Georgiana surrenders her being to win acceptance of her husband, Hawthorne surrenders his written theme for acceptance and consideration of others. Hawthorne’s literary maneuver gives the circumstance of justice and injustice, which in turn, defines and distinguishes them within the society. The difference between the two classes of men becomes the distinguishable quality of justice. This quality is reflected by their ability to recognize the birth-mark for what it is or is not. Likewise, because Aylmer fails to recognize and act upon the need of “hope” by his wife, he achieves perfection only in Georgiana’s death. She dies because she lacks “hope”. Her lack of “hope” becomes the society’s failure through ignorance and exclusion. Society denies her the “magic ingredient of hope” and leaves her with “No Choice”. The choice of “No Choice” is the gauge that serves to place man as a God over her in man’s pursuit of a Goddess, free from imperfection, that will measure up to his own God like image (and that had been provided to him by society). Society is the pacifying agent that justifies the inconceivable quest for perfection. Therefore, perfection becomes inevitable because only in death can Georgiana ever achieve it.

Was the reason for her death because Aylmer views her birth-mark as a symbol of the imperfection in society? I believe so because it is only through the essence of the end of the story that Georgiana suddenly becomes a symbol of perfection. Her lack of “hope” forcefully imprisons her in a society awaiting death by the means of her husband’s hand as the oppressor.

Baxter, Annette K. “Independence vs. Isolation: Hawthorne and James on the Problem of the Artist”. Nineteenth Century Fiction. Vol 10 (Dec. 1955). 225-231.
Fetterley, Judith. “Women Beware Science: The Birthmark”. The Resisting Reader.Indiana University Press: Indiana. 1978. 22-33.
Fromm, Erich. The Art of Loving. Perennial Library Edition. Vol.IX of the World Perspectives Series. Ruth Nanda Anshen, Editor. Harper Row: New York. 1974.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Birth-mark”. Anthology of American Literature: Colonial Through Romantic. Vol I. Third Ed. George McMichael, ed. Macmillan Publishing Company: New York. 1980. 1159-1169.
Mather, Cotton. “The Wonders of the Invisible World: A Third Curiosity”. Anthology of American Literature: Colonial Through Romantic. Vol I. Third Ed. George McMichael, ed. Macmillan Publishing Company: New York. 1980. 165-171.