Conflicts between “the past” and “the present”


(This is a picture of a cherry orchard)

Conflicts between the past and the present are everywhere in our life. In “The Cherry Orchard”, the fallen aristocracy was forced to sell their house and land to the rising capitalists. It reminds me of the situation in Hong Kong. In the past, Hong Kong was much richer than mainland China. Hong Kong people were also used to it and proud of it. However, Hong Kong’s economy is under decline these years, while people in mainland China are getting richer after the “reform and opening up”. Thus, with more and more mainland people shopping and buying houses in Hong Kong, the tension between Hong Kong people and mainland people is strengthened, just like what happened in the play.

In “The Cherry Orchard”, most aristocrats finally left their house and orchard with a romantic but unrealistic dream. Anya and Trofimov, however, left the old house and started their new life with a hope to create a better life by studying. Similarly, I believe there is still a bright way to a beautiful future for Hong Kong people. Like Trofimov, they have the ability to learn. The only problem is whether they would like to work hard, learn more and make a difference, or they just abandon themselves to the restless conflicts with mainland people.

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The Importance of Being Earnest in Shanghai


(This is a picture of Shanghai people in the early 20th century, showing us the combination between the new western culture (the suit) and old Chinese culture (the girl’s dress and haircut) in Shanghai)

If I were to direct a new production of the Importance of Being Earnest, I would set the story in the early 20th century in Shanghai, China. In my opinion, this setting would help further develop the topic of marriage in this play.

In the early 20th century, China was undergoing a great change from Feudalism to Capitalist democracy. The older generation were still upholding the traditional arranged marriages, while the younger generation, especially in Shanghai, an open port, were influenced by the “free love” trend from western countries, and were eager to choose their own lover. It is exactly the story happened in the play.

What’s more, in the early 20th century, there were many foreign troops in Shanghai. There were also many struggles between Chinese and foreigners. These can help show China’s condition under western country’s suppress and influence, which can tell us how the ambivalent views towards marriage came into existence. The lively social background may give us a better understanding of the different views towards marriage.

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Imaginations show us a true Cecily


(This is a capture of Cecily’s imagination in the film)

“The Importance of Being Earnest” is a short play, while its film adaption is much longer with many details and proper supplement added to the play. We did not finish watching the film during the lecture, but some differences and appendixes can already be detected.

In the film, Cecily had many imaginations. She imagined herself as a poor girl trapped in the village, and there was a dark prince there trying to rescue her. Unfortunately, she was woken up by her Germany teacher. It was indicating that Cecily loved “bad boy” and was tired of the boring village life with piles of books to read and learn. While the dark prince was exactly the trouble-making brother in Jack’s narration. Then, it became natural when she showed her love to Algernon, the fake Earnest.

Actually, when I read the play, I was surprised when Cecily told “Earnest” that she had written a dairy for him and regarded him as her fiancé from long long ago. The film managed to avoid this embarrassment by showing us Cecily’s inner world at beginning. Audience can also get a better understanding of Cecily from her imaginations.

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If love is like the sun


If love is like the hotly burning sun,
With dazzling light and raging firing zeal,
What we are dreaming of and longing for.

Away so far is somebody from love.
They can only live in the cold and dark.
In dismal they are scared into trembling worms.

So closely somebody has reached to love,
Like flying moths darting into the fierce fire.
Abandoning themselves into their love,
In the brightest love they are sublimed up.

Some keep themselves safely from the love.
They are, however, the most blessed ones in love.
Exposed in warmth and peace of splendid love,
They are as happy as the heaven birds.

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Dig into the Irish land


(An Irish man digging into his land)

In the poem “Digging”, three generations of Ireland are involved. The first one is the poet’s grandpa’s generation. People of this generation dig into the Irish bog for coals. Coals are essential tools for Irish people to warm themselves in winter, while the bog is a significant symbol for Irish culture, from which Irish people found the relic of their ancestors. The next generation  is the poet’s father’s, they dig into the Irish land for potatoes, one of the main crops that raised Irish people. The poet represents the third generation. People in this generation have no need to follow the previous generation and make a living with a spade. However, they are still digging into the Irish land, for the memories recorded by it, for the culture connotation held inside it, and for the nation’s vitality bred from it.

The poem is rooted in Irish culture. By the reminiscence, the poet shows his affection on his motherland. Moreover, by coming back to the squat pen between his finger and thumb, the author shows his determination to tell the story of Irish land and people by his poems.

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Marriages for Society


People fall in love and get married. We take it for granted that people marry who they love. However, “Brokeback Mountain” gives us another answer. Marriage does not necessarily have something to do with love. Many people, like Jack and Ennis, marry for society, not for love.

Jack and Ennis loved each other, but they did not live together. They married two girls which is acceptable for society. Ennis married to Alma because of his engagement, which is a kind of social custom, while Jack married to Lureen who may bring him money, which is the judging method of one’s social status.

Even though Jack and Ennis were not famous or rich guys, and they had almost nothing to lose, Ennis still refused to buy a farm and live with Jack, because he did not dare to risk his life under the unfair social judgement. He told Jack the story of his neighbor Earl and Rich: “I was what, nine years old and they found Earl dead in a irrigation ditch. They’d took a tire iron to him, spurred him up, drug him around by his dick until it pulled off, just bloody pulp. What the tire iron done looked like pieces a burned tomatoes all over him, nose tore down from skiddin on gravel.”

This is the unfair situation of the society, but this is also what we live and stuck with. We fall in love, but we have to go with the society, instead of our love.

(This essay was published late because I carelessly put it in draft box when finished, I have sent an e-mail to professor to explain)

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Niche travel marketing – suite smell of success or left at the altar

The “true” value of marriage


(Sculptures in Sun Temple)

There were two tragic marriages in the short story, one was the marriage of Mr. Das and Mrs. Das, while the other one was Mr. Kapasi’s marriage. Mrs. Das felt guilty for her family because she hided the truth of Bobby’s father from her husband. While Mr. Kapasi’s marriage was dull because his wife would not even show him her body. The reasons for the two unsuccessful marriages can be concluded as one – they were not honest to their beloved one, either hiding their thoughts or hiding their body.

By using the description and people’s comments of the Sun Temple, author gave readers an impression that the Sun Temple was holy and in representation of the truth. The women sculptures in the temple were “in luxurious poses, largely erotic in nature”. They were standing there nakedly, without reservation, which seemed to show us that the truth of marriage is to hide nothing from and roll into one with your beloved one.

In western countries, people uphold individualism in marriage. They require the right of privacy and personal space. However, in eastern countries, people emphasize on the couple as an entirety and sharing everything between each other. By the comparison between what the sculptures were doing and what the couples had done, the author managed to show us the importance of traditional eastern value of love and marriage.

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The Two Jekylls


The Jekyll in the musical was very different from the one in the novella. There was a better-rounded portrayal of Jekyll in the musical. They told us why Jekyll, as a gentleman at that time, was tired of the social rules and created Hyde, by showing us how his will to save his father was rejected by the moral and religious restrictions. Because the theme of the novel was the process of finding out what was happening, while the theme of the musical was why and how the things happened.

Another difference between the two Jekylls was the ways they died. In the novella, Jekyll killed himself in the lab, while in the musical, he died on his wedding. I guess the wedding was added to show how ordinary Jekyll was. He was such a normal person who need a wife and need some love. During the wedding, Jekyll was taken over by Hyde, but he was finally waken up by his fiance’s gaze, which showed his deep love for her. The wedding make the tragedy of Jekyll more tragic. In the novella, Jekyll killed himself to save his reputation. However, in the musical, he killed himself because he did not want hurt others anymore. The musical was a sublimation of the novella, because in the musical, Jekyll died for love instead of reputation.

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Letter is a great form for monologue


Letter is a special form of first person perspective. Stevenson’s narrative mainly followed Utterson’s experiences in order to create suspenses. Using letters from Lanyon and Jekyll, the author cleverly changed the viewpoint from Utterson’s to Lanyon and Jekyll’s, revealing the two doctors’ mental activities. Letter can be a kind of monologue in which characters can fully express themselves without limitations, no matter in the novella or in the real world.

From Lanyon’s letter, we get to know his dilemma, the confusion between his own experience and Jekyll’s discoveries as well as the struggle between protecting his friend and punishing the evil.

From Jekyll’s letter, we know the whole story and the pain inside Jekyll’s heart. After reading the letter, we find Jekyll and Hyde no longer noble doctor and heinous demon, but two separated sides of an ordinary person, which is so ironical and thought-provoking.

In addition, Lanyon’s letter also indicated his attempt to keep Jekyll’s reputation by saying “not to be opened till the death or disappearance of Dr. Henry Jekyll.􏰓” Jekyll also expressed his worry of losing fame in his letter. Along with Utterson’s effort to protect Jekyll’s reputation by expelling Hyde away, the letters help to show us the moral codes of that age, which is a crucial theme of the novella.

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Which kind of scholar do we need?


When we talk about scholars on poems, what is the image in our mind? Is it a doddery man wearing a pair of glasses, mumbling useless theories which people can hardly understand, or a sensitive man, smiling and crying like he is standing beside the poet, experiencing the same joy and suffering similar pain, having a beautiful hope and really caring about things happening around?

Obviously, the scholars in Yeats’s eyes are among the first kind. Though born hundreds of years later, their mindsets are far older than Catullus, the enthusiastic and romantic poet, whose poems, no matter how many years passed, remain as young as the poet’s innocent heart. However, the scholars still use their stereotype to interpret the “young poems”. What a disaster for poems to be interpreted by those do not feel them by heart!

As far as I am concerned, the literature scholars are supposed to guide readers to explore the real meaning and feel the true emotion delivered by the poem. Or furthermore, literature scholars should combine literature and the current society, to extract the essence of the literature and contribute to literary creation. In short, literature scholars should be those discovering or even adding value to literatures instead of those misinterpreting and spoiling literatures.

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