One thing that was interesting for me to note while reading The Tempest was the similarity between Prospero and Stephano; both were viewed as fatherly figures by Caliban despite weakening his position as a savage being. Compared to slaving for Prospero, Caliban was more eager to serve Stephano for Stephano not only tempted Caliban with an illusionary opportunity to free himself from the hands of a cruel master, but he also enabled Caliban to feel valuable. Once Prospero condemned Caliban to servitude, Prospero removed himself from the position as a fatherly figure in Caliban’s life, hence fully depriving Caliban from feeling affection or kindness. As for Stephano, even though his kind behavior towards Caliban was entirely faked, the attention and attitude he portrayed quenched Caliban’s emotional isolation. Much to what Prospero did, Stephano severed Caliban’s tie to his animalistic nature: he fed false information to Caliban such as indicating himself to be a heavenly being (2.2. 132—33), and humanized Caliban even more by ordering him to consume his liquor (2.2. 136). Stephano’s actions can be parallelized to Prospero’s attempt to civilize the child of Sycorax. Despite the injustice of Stephano’s actions, Caliban viewed him more as fatherly figure than Prospero. Similarly to Prospero, Stephano introduced new things into Caliban’s life. Just like what Prospero did, the new things Stephano introduced to Caliban made him appear more removed from his animalistic nature. Although Stephano’s behavior towards him was all an act, his act was enough to convince Caliban that there is someone capable of truly caring for him. Acceptance was something Caliban craved for as he had been denied of it since the death of his mother and since his rejection from the inhabitants of the island.
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While I was reading the Earthquake in Chile, I noticed that Jeronimo has given more glorification to the “Holy Mother of God” (11) than to the “Being that rules above the clouds” (9). If this was read from a religious perspective, the “Holy Mother” and the “Being” are separate beings: one is a human female, while the latter is an God (or an entity). What I don’t understand is why Jeronimo praises and prays more to the “Holy Mother” instead of God. To briefly clarify my confusion, first imagine yourself as a child; suppose you really want invite your friends for a sleepover, but you have to ask your parents for their permission to allow you to perform the task. If you were to ask for something you really want to happen, wouldn’t you inquire the person who most likely has it in his or her power to enable you to achieve your objective? Since it has been revealed throughout religious texts that a god has entire control over everything, wouldn’t it make sense for Jeronimo to glorify and beg his God for help rather than inquiring the “Holy Mother”? Compared to a God, the “Holy Mother” was a human being rather than an entity that possessed unlimited power and control over the entire universe, if viewed through the lenses of Christianity. Another thing to note, would Jeronimo’s preference towards the Holy Mother indicate that he held a respect for women? Furthermore, would his preference towards the “Holy Mother” hint anything about Kleist being supportive of feminism?
In my presentation, I believe I have asked about what Mengzi would say about a sociopath’s nature. I believe Mengzi would have said that they are born with an innate goodness, but are incapable of developing it for they have a difficulty of differentiating between right and wrong. In my opinion (and Mengzi would probably agree), I believe a sociopath’s difficulty to cultivate his or her innate goodness may be due the environment he or she is situated in and witnesses in his or her everyday life. Hence, in the case of a sociopath, Mengzi’s idea of vision being a useful tool for cultivating our innate goodness and extending it to others would be refuted; the case proves that vision can also play as an obstacle to one’s development in their benevolent nature. Although I feel like I’m making it start to appear that Mengzi only indicated vision as useful instrument that would support our benevolent nature, I believe that there were certain areas in the book in which he negatively characterized vision. In Mengzi’s kitchen example, I’m certain that Mengzi illustrated vision as a tool that can stump the growth of one’s benevolent nature. In Book 1A, Mengzi compared the king’s growth in benevolence to “gentlemen [that] keep their distance from the kitchen” (1A7.8). Metaphorically speaking, the act of avoiding “the kitchen” can be seen as an action of distancing yourself from an environment that negatively impacts your innate goodness by slowing its expansion. Thus, by “staying away from the kitchen”, a person would be able to cultivate the growth of his or her benevolent nature or extend it to others. Hence, this example may have likely portrayed sight as a tool that would not only propel the development of one’s innate goodness, but that it can also delay its progress or stunt its growth by evoking a non-benevolent nature. If we were to associate the word “kitchen” with images of animal corpses, and dead plants, it would become easier for us to relate a kitchen to Mengzi’s unidealistic environment for the association of the word kitchen with dead organisms generate negative connotations such as death or destruction. Unlike the sight of the ox stimulating the growth of King Xuan’s benevolent nature, the sight of the kitchen (or witnessing an environment Mengzi would regard as a danger to the growth of our innate goodness) would be the obstacle to a person’s journey of leading a virtuous life. Hence, I believe that Mengzi demonstrated sight carrying another ability other than generating compassion: that it can be used to disintegrate the development one’s benevolent nature.
“Most people are either stupid or evil, or both.”
Using Mabon’s statement as my guideline, I would like to explore the question: to what extent do the characters behave like “normal” people?
In Kleist’s story, Earthquake in Chile, we can see there is no shortage of either of these qualities. Jeronimo and Josefa are extremely stupid and naive. They abandon all of their sensible plans in exchange for ill-conceived, emotionally driven antics. The ravenous religious zealots are probably more evil than stupid but they are certainly both, as they can barely even be bothered to lynch the right people. Witch-hunting is one of the world’s oldest pastimes (in Christian communities, mostly) and mobs like this are far more “normal” than a sane person can be comfortable with. Sadly, the only abnormal character is also the most honourable. Standing between a mob and their would-be victims is truly nothing short of “Godlike [heroics]” (Kleist 31). I guess it is also pretty commendable how Jeronimo and Josefa sacrifice themselves as well.
Moving to Lieutenant Gustl, I am immediately reminded of Jonathan Swift, when he said that “satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own.” I think this is important to keep in mind given our discussion today. It is too easy to say that Schnitzler was simply making fun of European militarymen of his time. He is making fun of you and me too. Much of his initial instincts strike me as very normal, then his reactions are taken way out of proportion for the purpose of satire. I would assert that no normal human being has never taken an embarrassing incident way out of proportion, lashed out at someone for something that they really had no business in, or secretly rejoiced when someone who has wronged them suffers. It is only the ridiculous extremes that he takes these thoughts that is abnormal.
Right, now onto the next question: how are the settings important and what do they tell us about the author’s thoughts?
In Earthquake in Chile the setting is a more rural, developing area. Kleist basically portrays this as a hive of superstition and religious violence. Perhaps he thought of modern European cities to be beyond that sort of thing. He does also write as though this is a place of love and generosity, most notably when his characters are in the actual forest. I suspect he likely shared many of Rousseau’s thoughts on civilization. Schnitzler’s story gives a similar impression, but his criticism is pointed directly at urban Europe. His world is filled with arrogant, obnoxious, chest-puffing lunatics. Gustl is completely self-entitled and self-absorbed and even the baker is appallingly rude and confrontational. We also see a critique of a “culture of shame,” as we see that Gustl derives his entire sense of worth from the perceptions of others and societal expectations of him. There is certainly no room for the simple joys present in Earthquake in Chile in this story.
My presentation question: “So in ‘The Sandman’, Hoffmann REALLY likes to use heat and fire as a motif. He often links it to the overarching theme of perception/vision/eyes…Why is that? How is that? How does it link? WHAT?”
As you guys know what happened at our last Freud/Hoffmann seminar, my group and I had a huge epiphany. We had our minds blown thanks to Christina for helping us put the last piece of the puzzle together! MIND BLOWN. *makes sound of something exploding* Yeah, I was really happy about that. Still happy about that actually. Maybe too happy.
So, here’s what my group came up with this whole heat and fire relationship with vision and perception:
Nathanael deals a lot with warped perception and reality. He definitely has trouble differentiating what’s real and what isn’t. Hence why Freud sees this whole uncanny business going on. Nathanael can’t tell the difference between things and he often finds similarities and differences in polar opposite or very similar characters e.g. calling Clara an automaton when really Olimpia (who he says has full of life) is an automaton, as well as Coppelius and Coppola possibly inhabiting the same entity.
Whenever Nathanael thinks of Coppelius or whenever Coppelius’ presence is around, fire comes up. The two come hand in hand. This is found in the poem about Clara as well as other recurring thoughts that imply Coppelius’ presence. With Coppola, he is the one who’s got all the gadgets – the telescope, the spectacles… And what is interesting is that despite a spyglass’ use being to help magnify and make distant objects clearer, if anything, it has caused Nathanel to blur reality and imagination together. Hence, warped perception. And this faulty perception usually happens with the use of a spyglass or a spectacle made by Coppola, who also made Olimpia’s eyes.
What connects these two entities into one is how hot burning rains of sand is used to throw into one’s eyes. And guess what? sand is used to make glass(es)!!! What even.
All in all, you can tell that fire and eyes/vision/spectacles/anything related to perception and the ability to see something are motifs/symbols used to trigger the reader and Nathanael’s subconscious into relating the two characters as one being. THAT IS PRETTY SICK.
I find both short stories to make considerable use of metaphorical veils, both to hide or to justify acts of morality. These interact with the catastrophes that shape each story, possibly strengthening, creating and altering these veils. I will go through some of the veils that I think are most influential to each story and how they link to catastrophe as well as descent of morality, which I think is an important theme that both stories share.
I would say that the initial state of morality in both stories is nothing to be proud of. In The Earthquake in Chile, one can analyze morality in two levels, first in the eyes of the protagonists, Jeronimo and Josepha, as well as the society of Santiago. In the eyes of society, their immoral treatment of Josepha, such as throwing her in prison right after she gives birth, is veiled by their strict laws forbidding adultery. These laws act as justification for Josepha’s execution and obscure the inhumanity lying beneath. In the case of the lovers, they fully realize the immorality of their actions, but by secretly consummating their love, by veiling their affair, they manage to escape lawful retribution. However, this veil fails when Josepha gives birth, thus setting in motion the in medias res conflict. So here we can see veils being used both as methods of obscuring, or justifying immorality and hiding it, and that the hiding veil is weaker than the justifying veil.
In Lieutenant Gustl, I think the veil is much more obvious. His true thoughts, which are expressed , are veiled by the privacy of his mind. No one can discern what he is thinking, except the readers, so this allows him to get away with many opinions that one would consider immoral. He considers beating up people who get in his way and lusts for women he spots around the concert hall, among other things. Therefore, it is seen that here, the veil serves to hide his immorality. Where it does falter is through his incident with his baker, where he lets too much aggression through and loses his honor as a result. Again, we can see that veils used to hide immorality are susceptible to failure.
Now the catastrophes in both stories shake things up considerably, and that they themselves can also be veiled, not in the mind of the characters, but in the mind of the reader. I feel that point of view is essential to understanding the catastrophes that happen in each story. First of all, the earthquake in Santiago, in the eyes of the two lovers, can be seen as a blessing because it saves their lives and their romance. After they reunite, they retreat into a valley, celebrating instead of mourning. An earthquake is undeniably a great tragedy, but considering that Jeronimo and Josefa are protagonists, through their eyes, we see the catastrophe being veiled by triumph. The opposite effect happens in the church massacre. In the eyes of the mob, the massacre has a rectifying effect, acting as retribution for the two lovers’ sins. If the story were told in the view of a person who has lost everything due to the earthquake, then obviously Jeronimo and Josepha’s death, among others, would lose much of its tragedy under the veil of vengeance.
A similar thing happens in Lieutenant Gustl. Since we are literally looking through his eyes and thoughts, his point of view is extremely biased. He treats his encounter with the baker as a great blow to his honor, and through his interior monologue, what would have been seen as just a minor incident in the eyes of others, is now a profound catastrophe. It even overshadows the catastrophe of the baker’s death, which, if one were to liberate the point of view into a more omniscient form, would be undeniably a tragic event. However, under the veil of Gustl’s impending suicide and shattered honor, this becomes a catharsis, a liberation, much like the earthquake was for Jeronimo and Josepha, but on a more interior scale. Here, one catastrophe veils another. The catastrophe of the baker’s death is obscured by the resolution of Gustl’s confrontation with the baker, and we as the audience are profoundly tricked into believing that a single threat in retaliation to Gustl’s insults. Both of these stories veil our natural compassion and morality for humanity as a whole by providing catastrophes that solve the problems of the protagonist through an influx of tragedy, forcing us to make moral decisions. More often than not, we tend to choose the protagonist, be it a hero or an anti-hero.
Lastly, I would like to point out how the catastrophes create veils not only for the audience, but their perception of the characters’ fates as well as the characters themselves, ultimately degrading their morality. In The Earthquake in Chile, a veil is creating through the surprising unity that the disaster has engendered among the surviving people. They cooperate with one another, and Jeronimo and Josepha seem safe. This, however, is followed by the massacre at the church, foretold by Dona Elvira. Here, the veil is temporal, presenting a state that one assumes will last, but which quickly dissolves into its exact opposite. This extreme juxtaposition can only create uneasiness. In the massacre itself, the earthquake is used as a justification, a veil that hides the brutality of the mob under the presumption that God is unhappy with them for allowing the sin of adultery to bloom. This is an extreme version of the earlier veil that justified Josepha’s execution, as the immorality hiding behind the justification is much more severe and brutal, thus providing a tragic ending.
In the case of Lieutenant Gustl, I find several similarities. Not only does the catastrophe of the confrontation with the baker warp the audience’s perception of the baker’s death, but also Gustl’s reaction. He celebrates instead of mourns, providing a severe juxtaposition, triumph against sorrow. This time however, sorrow is the outward force while triumph is the veiled force. Nonetheless, the distinction remains; Gustl’s elation at another man’s death, simply because he insulted his honor, is disturbing, and even more so when he feigns sadness and boasts at his success. Here, the hiding veil is ironclad, and the fact that he finds catharsis in the baker’s death indicates that his morality has degraded even further. Even though the ending of this story may seem like a triumph for the protagonist, considering these aspects, it is very much a tragedy.
I believe this is the format I want to use if I write my essay on this topic, so hopefully this makes logical and coherent sense.
The two questions from my presentation both involved analyzing Freud’s work:
- How valid are Freud’s theories of the castration complex and child primary narcissism today?
- Do you agree with Freud’s view that suppressed desires cause hysteria given Nathaneal’s case from The Sandman?
In “The Uncanny” Freud picks apart Hoffman’s short story “The Sandman” along with many other texts, as well as his own personal experiences in order to define what exactly the “uncanny” is. He comes to the conclusion that it is not “intellectual uncertainty”, but actually “the class of frightening things that leads us back to what is known and familiar”, or the return of the repressed.
In analyzing Hoffman’s short, he claims it brings the feeling of uncanny because of its ties to repressed infantile desires. He says the act of losing our eyes is subconsciously related to our castration complex as children. The problem here is he doesn’t give much information how exactly these two things, fear of losing your eyes and genitalia, can be interchangeable. He also says the recurring theme of doubles in the story are uncanny because they indirectly remind us of our primary narcissism we had as children. Contrary to Freud, I have a hard time believing children participate in primary narcissism because they are afraid on some level of their mortality. I don’t believe small children have a strong enough grasp of the concept of death itself to begin fretting their own deaths, even subconsciously. Also, the example given in lecture of a child referring to themselves in the third person as evidence of primary narcissism is problematic. Children don’t call themselves by their first name because they wish to project multiple versions of themselves and become immortal, but simply because children don’t learn how to use pronouns before learning how names work.
It’s these little problems and ambiguity in Freud’s writings that caused me to question his credibility, especially given the case of Nathanael in “The Sandman”. While there are many instances of traumatic events in Nathaneal’s past coming back to haunt him in adult life (his spying on Coppelius and his father’s death), it is difficult to find any evidence of repressed desires that Freud believes is central to many cases of hysteria, not unlike the Nathaneal’s case. Towards the end of the story, he begins repeating phrases and acting without self-control. While this may be his repressed memories from his childhood (repressed because we never see what happens- just afterwards when Nathanael wakes up), I don’t believe he has repressed desires.
I think everyone here can agree that there’s really no possible way to entirely wrap our heads around this story but like intellectual buffoons we’re going to try. Here’s what’s got me all twisted – what happened to Nathanael’s eyes and whether he is human or automaton. I mean, what is going on, really? Let’s break it down.
Coppelius supposedly lets Nathanael keep his eyes at the plea of his father (47) but later on we Spalanzani throw Nathanael’s eyes at his chest (95). Interestingly enough, these were the same eyes that animated Olimpia, or so we understand from Spalanzani.
Question is, are these physical eyes or a metaphor for insight? Olimpia functioning on Nathanael’s eyes would make more sense in a literal sense but if she’s had his literal eyes all this time, we can’t exactly explain how Nathanael’s been walking around with these ‘black cavities’ (47) (95) in his head that this story loves to keep bringing up (that one gets the award of most morbid motif in Arts One Term 1, I’ll get chip in for the trophy). If they’re metaphorical, it would make more sense in Nathanael’s case, because we can see he has succumbed to paranoia and infidelity, loosing his sense of self. But again, Olimpia can’t be functioning on insight, especially since she seems to have none as her eyes are ‘devoid of the power to see’ (89) and all she can contribute in terms imparting insight is her repeating “ah!” (I think we got her point the first time). So, either explanation seems flawed in at least one way.
Now, that’s not even the tip of the iceberg concerning our troubles with the main character. We don’t even know if this man is human or automaton. Coppelius unscrews Nathanael’s limbs and mixes and matches them (47) as if he was an automaton but what’s even more interesting and perhaps not discussed at all is Coppelius’ comments while doing so. He says, “They’re best the way they were!– The old man knew what he was doing!” Who is this old man?
If he was talking about Nathanael’s creator, and this seems to be the case, that would rationally be Nathanael’s father but Coppelius speaking in third person suggests that he doesn’t believe that to be the case, because Nathanael’s father was right in the room and very much capable of being addressed directly. So, could it be that Nathanael is an automaton created by someone else and only Coppelius is aware of it, or perhaps Nathanael’s father as well? This might explain why Coppelius chose to kill Nathanael’s father, perhaps the father wasn’t comfortable with the secret – wanting to share it with his wife or Nathanael himself. Another thing that people don’t talk about is Coppelius’ sudden urge to murder the man after a year of radio silence on his part; perhaps this is because not much is known about the father and while Coppelius is definitely a more significant character he’s still just as mysterious if not more. Regardless of these unsolvable questions, Nathanael being an automaton might explain his attraction to Olimpia even when his peers seemed to see through her.
But Nathanael shown to have ‘inner warmth’ that ignites his cheeks and he is seen with ‘tears pouring from his eyes’ (73) so this seems to go against that theory. In this case, Nathanael’s fascination with Olimpia might be explained by Coppola’s eye glass that twisted his perception of her and made it seem like ‘her power of vision had been ignited’ though he had found her to be rigid and cold initially as his peers had.
So, yeah those would be my thoughts for the week. A penny for yours?
OKAY SO THIS WAS IN MY ESSAY, AND I JUST CUT IT RIGHT OUT. It was turning into too much of an unsupported conspiracy, which probably came out of bits and pieces from seminar, but I spent time on it so I’m putting it here
Perhaps not quite within “inner vision”, but when Nathanael looks through the spyglass that he bought from Coppola the glassmaker, he sees thing that may be questionable to reality.Though spyglass are usually associated with the ability to see more clearly, it seems that this particular spyglass serves the opposite function. When looking through the glass, Nathanael sees a distortion of reality, and perhaps even what Coppelius/Coppola wants him to see. The first time he uses it is when he looks at Olimpia, and falls in love with her. Perhaps it was Coppola’s intention to have Nathanael become attached to the automaton, as he is involved in the aforementioned situation in which Olimpia loses her eyes. The next time we see this glass, Nathanael has awoken from his supposed madness, until he notices the glass in his pocket. As soon as he takes a look at Clara through it, he is spewing madness, and accusing her of being an automaton and trying to kill her. Before his death, he sees Coppola’s figure, laughing. If we assume that everything Nathanael sees is actually real, it is plausible that Coppola is intentionally creating these situations for the sake of scaring him.
My friends and I from UBC were partaking in a relay event that involved people from all over, and of all ages. I saw some people I recognized from my hometown, although the location was unclear. We were given packets of food and one of my friends was hungry so she ate one, which ended up disqualifying us. Before we were disqualified, I did not want to participate in the competition so I barely tried. My friend Maddy was furious at me, to the point where I was scared. I was also yelled at by a referee for riding a bike when I shouldn’t have, which made me more upset and eventually run away. In the end, I was sitting with Maddy and we apologized to each other.
Since these are real people, I’m curious as to what this dream means. By applying Freud’s method of dream interpretation this is what I can come up with:
My unconscious is nervous about Maddy being angry at me, as a result of occasional remarks of frustration at me. She is angry at me for not trying my best in the competition; the only thing I can line this anger up with is when I talk or laugh too loudly while watching a movie.
The fact I did not want to participate in the relay race could potentially correlate to my lack of motivation I had in grade school with Physical Education class.
Maddy has also been mad at Brenda before for being too loud, which could explain why she lashed out at her in my dream. Brenda ate something she wasn’t supposed to, whereas she usually is a picky eater and doesn’t eat anything. This must be a fulfillment of my unconscious wish for Brenda to eat everything and not be so picky.
The conversation between Maddy and I at end of my dream resolves our conflict and leads to me changing my attitude and wanting to participate. Perhaps what I need to take away from this dream is that my lack of involvement can be upsetting to other people, and to not break the rules.
Thanks to Freud, I can now interpret all of my dreams.