How does Nora’s first and only interaction with her children reveal her character? Nora’s only interaction with her children in the play begins on page 27 and ends on page 28. Her attitude towards her children becomes obvious from the very beginning when she calls them “sweet blessings” and “darlings”. Nora thinks of her children as something sort of like a plaything, a doll maybe. Her description of their “red cheeks! Like apples and roses” emphasizes the children’s doll like appearance, with an imagery of bright red cheeks like those painted on dolls.
Nora even goes as far as calling her baby her “sweet little baby doll.” Her throwing the children’s things around shows her carelessness to realize that she is the mother of her children, not their owner like one who owns toys. She acts like a kid playing with her toys, not as much as an adult taking care of her children. She plays hide and seek with emphatically, which shows her naive attitude towards her responsibilities with the children. Nora, in this scene with her children, shows off how carefree she is about everything. She does not grasp her correct role with her children, which is to be more than just a playmate. Instead, she re-enacts her role with Torvald, only this time the roles are reversed. With her children, Nora could be the superior one and the children could be her dolls. This gives Nora joy that she could not receive from Torvald. Just as Nora manipulates Torvald in order to get what she wants, she manipulates her children so that she can feel content and superior.
Transcendental And Anti-Transcendental Movements
During the New England Renaissance period of 1840-1855, literature underwent two very distinct movements known as Transcendentalism and Anti-Transcendentalism. Both movements were very influential and consisted of authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson (Transcendentalist) and Nathaniel Hawthorne (Anti-Transcendentalist). Concentrating their ideas on human nature and intuition, rather than on logic and reason, both these movements served as a flourishing revolt The Transcendental movement focused its ideas on the essential unity of creation, the pure goodness of humanity and in individual intuition as the highest source of knowledge, rather than sensory experience. Optimism dominated people’s thoughts and was shown in the ideas of the Transcendentalists. The Transcendentalists believed deeply in human potential and in the purity of Nature. Truth, they believed, was also reflected in Nature and how it made you feel, and Nature was a reflection of the beauty of human nature. They focused on the possibilities of the human spirit and the capability of it reaching the “Over Soul”. The “Over Soul” is the so-called state in which all beings (Nature, God, and Humanity) are spiritually united. During this movement, individualism, self-reliance, and rejection of traditional authority were also highly stressed. A literary work which reflects the Transcendental ideas is Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”. Emerson’s quotes display the reader a clear image of ideas which Transcendentalists believed in.
In “Self-Reliance,”written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Transcendental philosophy of life is highly stressed. “Self Reliance” focuses its theme around the Transcendental idea of individualism. “..That imitation is suicide”, a quote from “Self-Reliance”, shows the reader that transcendentalists stressed the individual rather than conforming to society and being a follower. Emerson also writes that, “The power which resides in him (referring to all humans) is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.”This reflects the idea of the Transcendentalism which looks at the possibilities of the human spirit, Contrasting Transcendentalism, Anti-Transcendentalism focused on the darkness of the human soul. Anti-Transcendentalism believed that the Transcendental point of view was much too optimistic, and the works of the literary authors overlooked the evil that plagued man. Anti-Transcendentalists embraced the existence of sin and evil, which made their literary pieces very dark. They viewed Nature as a two-sided force, having both a graceful side and a destructive side. For Anti-Transcendentalists, Nature reflected all that was paradoxical and unexplainable. Their focus was also on the limitations of the human spirit, and stressed the idea that each of us held potential destructiveness. This literary movement consisted of only two writers, being Nathaniel Hawthorne and Hermen Melville. In Hawthorne’s “The Minister’s Black Veil,” Anti-transcendental ideas can be recognized throughout the entity of the story.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, “The Minister’s Black Veil,” deals with sin and concealed guilt, with hypocrisy and humility, in a dark tale that shows the true insight of the Puritan conscience. His story reflects the Anti-Transcendental ideas, using a black veil covering a minister’s face to symbolize human sin. He symbolized the Anti-Transcendental ideas of life’s truths beings disturbing. “The subject (referring to minister) had bad reference to secret sin, and these sad mysteries which we hide from our nearest and dearest, and would fain conceal from our consciousness, even forgetting that the omniscient can detect them”. This quote from this story, is an example of the Anti-Transcendental idea that we all have sins which we hide, and it is a hypocrisy to hide those sins, because God can still see them. In the following description, it can be noticed that Hawthorne continues to show the fear of sin and also now, the sin of the Earth (Nature). “At that instant, catching a glimpse of his figure in the looking glass, the black veil involved his own spirit in the horror with which overwhelmed all others. His frame shuddered, his lips grew white, he spilled the untasted wine upon the carpet and rushed forth into the darkness. For the Earth, too, had on her Black Veil.” Nature, as believed by the Anti-Transcendentalists, was a symbol of everything unexplainable, and since nobody in the village knew (or wanted to admit) what the black veil symbolized, Mr. Hooper running into nature’s darkness is symbolic of Both the Transcendental and Anti-Transcendental movements, influenced literature greatly. The authors during the movements concentrated on reflecting the ideas (of the corresponding movement) to the reader in a symbolic way through literature. The literature builds the idea of humanity and nature in different perspectives, which reflects the principle ideas of both Bibliography:
“After Apple Picking” By Robert Frost
After Apple-Picking can be understood in various forms, incorporating biblical allusions to Adam and Eve while also capturing the emotions of an ordinary person. This literary masterpiece gains deeper significance with each reading and personal encounter with its profound content.
After Apple-Picking is centered around a man’s readiness for death, as he reflects on his achievements and contemplates the aspects of life he may have overlooked. The speaker, acting as the poem’s narrator, grows increasingly drowsy and lost in thoughts before succumbing to his final slumber. Frustrated by the abundance of uncertain options in life, the narrator reflects on any potential lingering regrets.
The poem opens with a lofty ladder reaching up towards the sky. From this vantage point, the speaker observes untouched apples that remain unpicked. (These apples symbolize the fruits of knowledge as depicted in biblical accounts). The speaker does not express any remorse for leaving some apples behind and declares he is finished with apple picking, feeling somewhat assured in his decision to quit. However, there remains an unfilled barrel, signifying that there are still things left unlearned. It appears that the speaker’s waking hours are approaching, suggesting mortality looms near during the wintry sleep of night.
The narrator describes an unusual sight of the gray grass(12) seen through a thin layer of ice. As the ice gradually melts, it symbolizes the end of his life and his perspective on the world. He contemplates his mortality, feeling as though he won’t have enough time to accomplish all he desires. Despite this realization, the narrator remains hopeful and holds strong beliefs about the afterlife. The fleeting presence of enlarged apples(18) represents his life quickly flashing by before his eyes.
These are the actions that have been completed and those that remain unfinished. He will dream about his numerous achievements. “Stem end and blossom end” (19) provides an overview of his life’s accomplishments. He believes that he stood strong when faced with difficulties. He realizes that he successfully made it through life by making somewhat rational decisions.
The sounds from the cellar bin represent the lamentation of neglected and postponed aspects of life. The speaker acknowledges once more their exhaustion from apple picking. Their desire for knowledge and exploration has been overshadowed by a longing for rest and slumber. The value of knowledge is now insignificant. This situation parallels Adam and Eve’s experience of consuming knowledge from the forbidden tree, where they also became satiated and desired the vast array of choices life has to offer.
Once they possessed it, they no longer desired it. Eventually embracing the decisions made throughout their existence, they genuinely worry about the potential troubles that may arise during their slumber. They question whether they ever truly made the correct choices and utilized all available opportunities. Their concern lies in the unknown destination of their sleep, be it heaven or hell, regardless of the type of slumber it may be (38).
The narrator repeatedly symbolizes himself as the woodchuck in the poem. It implies that the speaker is alternating between a state of wakefulness and sleep, similar to hibernation. The speaker has consumed a significant amount of food, as mentioned in the line “Of the great harvest I myself desired.” (29), resembling the behavior of hibernating animals. Perhaps the reader, like an animal, awakens periodically to witness and encounter various experiences. Additionally, the approaching winter season feels reminiscent of mortality.
The speaker in this poem, a simple elderly man, discusses the question of what kind of sleep to expect. This may suggest a new life, an afterlife, or perhaps just the same sleep as a woodchuck. He speaks in a narrative form and is emotionally strained from the choices and confusions of life.
The narrator is reflecting on his interpretation of the theme of this poem. One aspect is the importance of not procrastinating. The man also seems to be very critical of himself for not taking responsibility for everything around him. He regrets missing out on opportunities and feels guilty for not continuously seeking knowledge. This suggests that one should never decline a lesson to be learned.
After Apple-Picking can also be interpreted as a reflection on one’s life experience. The syntax used in the poem is highly captivating and appears to be predestined. The short lines in the poem evoke a sense of unease. They are noticeably spaced out:
Line: The scent of apples: I am drowsing off
Line: I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
This contributes to the ominous mood of the poem by causing a sense of disorientation, comparable to that of someone approaching death.
The death notes at the end of the lines signify the writer’s firm emphasis on the characters’ mortality. Additionally, the rhyme scheme is labeled using a basic ABCD pattern, extending all the way to the letter Y, before stopping abruptly at Z. This represents the stage of life that the narrator finds himself in. While not quite reaching the terminal stages of death, its presence looms near for him.
- Henderson, Gloria Mason, Bill Day, and Sandra Stevenson Waller.Literature and Ourselves. New York: Longman, 1996.
- Hacker, Diane.The Bedford Handbook.Boston: Bedford Books, 1998.
- Frost, Robert. After Apple-Picking