Howells, Hart, Bierce, and Harris

"Editha" by William Dean Howells

As well written and beautifully worded as it is,I found this particular story to be very odd and I did not care for it much. To think that someone would welcome the thought of war and actually want their significant other to go off to fight, or possibly die, is absurd. As a girl who grew up around the military, I know what it feels like to have someone you love off to some foreign place serving their country to give you a better life. My loved one was my father but I could never imagine giving up my boyfriend, fiance, or husband to any cause that could get him killed. Now don't misunderstand what I am trying to say, I love the military and I am grateful for the freedoms they have given and continue to give me; I just do not like wars that have no solid foundation or outcome that take the lives of innocent men, women and children. I do,however, understand the viewpoint of Editha; she wants George to fight for her and give her something to be proud of her man for. But seriously, couldn't she choose something a little less dangerous or life changing? I mean knights used to joust in the honor of a lady they were courting so its not that uncommon of a practice but at least jousting was a bit less life threatening than actual war...its just play war. I mean chivalry might be pretty much dead but if my boyfriend offered to win a video game or basketball game or something in my honor it would make me happy, so I think Editha has a few issues she needs to work out with George if they are going to be a successful couple, no matter what era in history the are in.

"Tennessee's Partner" by Bret Hart

I will begin by saying that I did mot enjoy this short story at all, it just did not interest me nor did it make much sense to me. The plot is ok i suppose but it calls to mind a recent event in my own life, which made me dislike it even more. Tennessee's partner's wife meets Tennessee and runs off with him and then when that relationship falls through, Tennessee and his partner are back to being friends again? I'm sorry but things like that don't happen in the real world. In the real world Tennessee's partner would have been furious at both his wife and Tennessee for their disloyalty to him and would never have taken Tennessee back as a friend unless of course he felt sorry for Tennessee after his tramp of a wife did him the same way. It is almost scary how similar the situation is in my own life; my current boyfriend was the best friend of my former boyfriend but they did not make up when my current boyfriend and I ran off together, so you see I know for sure that these things don't happen for real no matter how much anyone wants them to. In addition to the story being lame, the names Harte used were really annoying; even now as I am typing them over and over again they are getting on my nerves. Why not use normal names like John or Bob or George? Its much more practical and a lot less confusing and annoying. I think this story left much to be desired and I definitely would never have read it on my own accord, but I guess that is why we have these assignments, so our instructors can force us to read things we wouldn't otherwise pay any mind to.

"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce

I don't have very much to say about this story except that it was very fun to read, it keeps you guessing until the very end. I love to read stories that have a skip between time, whether it be a dream or a memory or a flashback, I think it adds a lot of flavor to the story and it keeps the reader on their toes. I really liked the way that he described the sound of the watch ticking away the man's last moments; if you have ever been in a room waiting for something to happen, the sound of the clock can be almost deafening. I am a bit confused as to why the main character decided to go to the bridge. Was he actually going to burn it down and got caught or was he just there being nosy and paid dearly for his curiosity? I do commend the main character for trying to be a good Confederate citizen and everything but he should have just left everything to the real soldiers and shouldn't have stuck his nose where it didn't belong. I did not, however, completely like the way it ended; I liked that he went home to his wife but I think that it was awful to make him blackout before he reached her. Death is a mystery yes but I think that for the most part everyone, no matter what religion, believes that you go to a heavenly place after you die and I think that if he had gone to heaven it would have been right there at home with his wife and family, not an eternity of black nothingness. So if the author had changed it to where he had a slightly happier fate, I think I would have enjoyed it a bit more but overall I found this to be the best of all the stories we have read this week.

"How Mr. Rabbit Was Too Sharp for Mr. Fox" and "Free Joe and the Rest of the World" by Joel Chandler Harris

First of all, I want to make it clear that I cannot read that crazy hick dialect that these stories are written in and the more I tried the bigger the headache I received. Such a dialect may have existed once upon a time but it no longer does so I think we should be allowed to read a translated version or something. I don't mean to sound unpleasant but when you have to read and write as much as we have to, you definitely want everything to be more simple and less like a Vulcan mind meld. With that said, I enjoyed both of the stories themselves and they sort of bring to mind a few of the Aesop's Fables I heard as a child, even though I have never heard a Braer Rabbit story before now. I think I liked the second story better than the first because I found it very sad but sweet. Every woman would want a man that would love her enough to wait for her forever and ever even if it meant death. However sweet the thought, I don't think I would want anyone I love dying for me even if it is because they love me; I couldn't bear the thought of my boyfriend dying in the forest waiting for my return to our favorite tree or something. As for the fox and the rabbit story, well I think it was very clever. The fox is a very smart and cunning animal and I cannot see how he fell for such a stupid trick; besides, isn't the fox or the coyote supposed to be like the master tricksters? Not rabbits. So props to the rabbit for being a smart little rodent and getting himself off the menu for now. I think I might read a few of the Braer rabbit stories to my niece one of these days, if I can find it in modern English or a children's version that is.

1 comment:

  1. Did you get through to the end of "Editha"? Obviously, they won't be together. But I really like this story. She's such a brat, and she has no clue about war and its consequences.