The Sea Wolf by Jack London

The Sea-Wolf - Kindle edition by London, Jack. Literature ...

“The Sea Wolf” is a novel written by American writer Jack London. The novel depicts a heart-wrenching battle and an unforgettable love story on board a sealing-hunting sailing ship called the “Ghost”. The “Wolf” in the novel is not only the name of Captain Larsen, but also the synonym of superman for the author. Through the novel, the author leads the readers into the callousness of the wild life and feels the dark side of the brutal human nature and the brightness of the primitive life. At the same time, it also exposes the disadvantages of the capitalist society and shows the praise for the strong will of the working people and the sympathy for the suffering life.

On the “Ghost” , there is no legal order, no distinction between good and evil, no humanity, let alone the most true and most beautiful human emotions. The life of a seaman was like an ant to him, and whoever he wanted to die had to die. Larsen became the most loyal follower and the most powerful enforcer of Darwinism. The crew he recruited on the sea were only salaried slaves. The seal hunter was his accomplice. The shipwrecked people he rescued became his cheap labor force to fill the gap. He not only swore at the death of his former first mate, but roughly buried him and threw him into the sea. When Harrison, a new sailor, got caught by a high mast, his life was in danger; however, Larsen wouldn’t let anyone go up and help him.

To fill the void, he forced Weyden, whom he had rescued from the ship, to come and work for him. Under the tyrant’s rule and influence, the rest of the crew became rough and brutal. Thomas whet his knife at Weyden all day long, but Weyden, not to be outdone, took his knife to the grindstone all day long, and at last won. Johnson was beaten black and blue for saying something that offended Larson, and Leach, the sailor, swore at Larsen and then beat up the good cook. In Larsen’s world, violence against violence is the law of existence.

Many progressive male intellectuals, including the writer Jack London, supported and championed feminism and expressed their desire for social change;however, traditional ideas are in deep ideological conflict and often bring them back to the desire for traditional power relations. In “The Sea Wolf” we can see a certain disharmony: one comes from the writer’s consciously expressed ideas, the other from the writer’s unconscious desires; one is the principle of gender politics, the other is the pragmatism of social life. The two tendencies interweave together, making the novel a contradictory text.

-Coreen C.

Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor

Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor

“Wise Blood”, the first full-length novel by American writer O ‘Connor, is a religious fable discussing salvation through faith. “Wise Blood” is set in The city of Taulkinham, Tennessee in the mid-20th century. The protagonist Hazel Motes tries to eradicate the influence of Jesus on him, and takes a path of spiritual disillusionment and conversion mixed with sadness and joy, which ends in failure. Hazel Motes, the protagonist, grew up in a family of village ministers and wanted to become a priest, just like his grandfather. His faith wavered during his years abroad as a soldier, and after his demobilization he tried to cast off his religious convictions. In Taulkinham, Hazel meets Hawks, a pseudo-believer who preaches-disguised as a blind man, his illegitimate daughter Lily, and an 18-year-old boy named Enoch. Hazel spoke to everyone about blasphemy as the only way to achieve truth, and publicly promoted a Protestant religion without Jesus. However, the public was indifferent to his words, and the Protestantism he preached was exploited by Hawks as a money swindler. After driving over Hawk’s fake prophet, Hazel blinded himself and fell into a gutter on a stormy night.

Sin and redemption are the most important themes in O ‘Connor’s novels. In “Wise Blood” with strong religious color, both the narrative structure of the Bible and the image of the Bible are cleverly borrowed to highlight the theme of sin and redemption. The title “Wise Blood” symbolizes original sin in the Bible, and human beings are born with sin, which is also one of the most critical kernels in the humanistic concept of the Bible. In “Wise Blood”, Hazel’s sins are realized through violence. Violence against others became a means for Hazel to rebel against God. At the same time, he blinded himself with lime, tied himself with wire, and put on shoes filled with stones. Such violence against himself became a means of self-redemption. Hazel’s physical torture meant the death of his sins, bringing him back to the faith of his childhood, and giving him grace. The two world wars completely disillusioned people’s dreams, vanity of pleasure behind the appearance of concealing the human selfish hypocrisy, empty spirit, and withered soul. These people are immersed in the mire of crime and do not know, mankind is facing an unprecedented crisis of faith. O ‘Connor wants to make those who believe that God is dead realize their own defects and sins through violence.

-Coreen C.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Jane Austen, Paperback  | Barnes & NobleĀ®

The most common setting in 17th century Gothic fiction is the conflict between female desire and family tradition: the object of a daughter’s love contradicts the orders of her in-laws, and the father is determined to bring about the marriage. Conflict between an overbearing father and his daughter over marriage is a prominent feature of Gothic novels. The father wants to be in the right family, the daughter wants to be in love. This prominent feature exists objectively in Northanger Abbey. It should be said that there is some kind of Gothic reality that Catherine encounters, that she gets caught up in, that her marriage is blocked. Now, of course, it could be argued that the marriage conventions of the time made the novel merely a reflection of social reality.

However, gothic novels also reflect the social reality in their own unique way. There is no essential difference between them. As far as marriage is concerned, they are both Gothic marriages. For example, it features smart, beautiful young women who have to go through some kind of hardship to get their way and end up marrying a rich young man. Gothic fiction often takes place in gothic castles or monasteries, emphasizing mysterious and terrifying rooms, staircases full of ghosts, dark and hidden passages, and so on. The setting of the novel is taken from the heroine Catherine’s first impression of Northanger Abbey. Catherine was an innocent and kind woman.

In her eyes, this place was full of mystery, the small windows, the melancholy architecture, the colorful glass, and the cobweb walls all inspired her infinite imagination. Because at the beginning of her visit to Northanger Abbey, the protagonist Catherine was deeply influenced by gothic novels. So even the normal environment of things in her eyes will produce a magical color. Northanger Abbey is partly constructed from the gothic style of language. It comes from the popular gothic novel and social trend at that time.

Emma by Jane Austen

Amazon.com: Emma (Dover Thrift Editions) (0800759406487): Jane Austen: Books

Emma’s control of Harriet’s marriage cannot be said to be selfish. She did care and love Harriet, and throughout much of the book she is seen worrying about Harriet’s marriage and drawing inspiration from it herself. Out of an intolerable conceit, she fancied she knew the secrets of every man’s affections. As it turned out, she did it all wrong. But when she learned that Harriet was in love with Knightley, she suddenly discovered that she had always been in love with him. In a sharp turn of events, she and Knightley become husband and wife. She had objected to Harriet’s marrying Martin, and was glad that they were at last united. In Emma’s opinion, Martin was as unfit to be Harriet’s husband as Harriet was unfit to be Knightley’s wife.

Marriage should be matched by family, which was exactly the marriage relationship in the society at that time. The solution to women’s problems (including marriage problems naturally) put forward by Austen was serious, but her works added comedy color. At the beginning of the 19th century, sentimental novels were popular in England, and Austen’s realistic novels gave readers a fresh breath.

In her novel Emma, Austen tells most of the family trifles in ordinary life, and the author creates a female image with intelligence and independent thinking. Emma, the protagonist, demands the equality of men and women in the patriarchal society, and has her own clear views and values on marriage. It also reflects the feminist views of Austen to some extent. With her unique perspective of supporting women, Austen profoundly cut through the reality of the society controlled by men and the situation of women in social life. The author criticizes the unfair phenomenon of male superiority and female inferiority while affirming the social status of women. Therefore, to a certain extent, this novel has far-reaching social practical significance.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen: 9780307386885 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

In Mansfield Park, Jane Austen skillfully combined the Cinderella theme with the fairy tale of the abandoned princess. Cinderella Fanny was brought up by an unworthy father, but without losing her natural goodness and gentleness. Fanny’s good qualities were in stark contrast to her shabby and dirty home in Puss. In Austen’s first several novels, the heroine’s moral standard is always higher than the traditional social concept, so that she can marry a good man. It is a reward for their good qualities, or compensation for their troubles and sufferings, and such heroines themselves are the yardstick of good judgment and good feelings. But Fanny Price, the heroine of Mansfield Park, succumbed to the virtues of those around her, such as Sir Thomas, the only father of Austen’s novels to be praised, and Edmund.

Fanny sought the traditional virtues of good manners and religious feeling, and she became an ardent supporter of the traditional moral standards. The book also catered to the praise of many traditionalist critics at the time. In the novel, Austen used the gentle words and deeds of Fanny to express her moral educator’s idea that moral perfection is difficult to achieve and needs to be achieved at the cost of self-restraint and sacrifice. The female voice is required to be static, so her eyes become the most effective agent. Because in the spiritual life of England in the 19th century, the moral sense was very strong. The church and its moral precepts, which dominated people’s lives, evoked not a desire to save souls but a sense of duty.

Therefore, in Mansfield Park, Austen strictly rejected the vigorous spirit of the immoral Mary Crawford, and blindly affirmed the weakness of the holy Fanny who believed in Christianity. This strange and abnormal likes and dislikes are the core of the intention of this novel. Austen made this frightened little daughter from a poor family conquer all people with virtue and finally became the mistress of Mansfield Manor. It shows holiness and greatness, emphasizes the close connection between happiness and virtue, and firmly believes that a good person has the right to develop and fulfill herself according to her own nature and good deeds.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

In this novel, through the different treatment of Bennett’s five daughters to life events, Austen shows the different attitudes of the girls from bourgeois families in the villages to marriage and love, thus reflecting the author’s own views on marriage. It is wrong to marry for property, money and status. It would also be foolish to marry without considering these factors. Therefore, she was against marrying for money and against treating marriage as a joke. She emphasized the importance of the ideal marriage, and made the feelings of both the man and the woman the cornerstone of the ideal marriage. Elizabeth, the heroine of the book, was born in a family of small landowners and loved by Darcy, the son of a rich man. Darcy, regardless of family and wealth gap, proposed to her, but was rejected. Elizabeth hated his arrogance.

Darcy’s hubris is actually a reflection of status differences. As long as such pride existed, he and Elizabeth could not have the same thoughts and feelings, and the ideal marriage. Later, Elizabeth observed Darcy’s behavior and a series of actions with her own eyes, especially saw that he had changed his proud and conceited manner in the past, eliminated his misunderstanding and prejudice, and thus concluded a happy marriage with him. Elizabeth’s different attitudes towards Darcy’s two marriage proposals actually reflect women’s pursuit of personality independence and equal rights. This is the progressive significance of the figure of Elizabeth.

From the novel, Elizabeth is intelligent, resourceful, courageous, visionary, has a strong self-esteem, and is good at thinking. Just because of this quality, she has an independent mind on the issue of love, making her and Darcy constitute a happy family. In Pride and Prejudice, Austen also writes about the marriages of Elizabeth’s sisters and girlfriends, which serve as a foil to the heroine’s ideal marriage. For example, although Charlotte and Collins live a comfortable material life after marriage, but there is no love between them. This kind of marriage is actually a social tragedy under the cloak of finery.

Lady Susan by Jane Austen

Amazon.com: Lady Susan (9780486444079): Austen, Jane, Chapman, R. W.: Books

An evil mother tries to force her daughter into a harmful marriage. Mrs. Susan was selfish, cruel and manipulative. She abused her children, betrayed her friends, and threw her weight around in horrible ways. Her original marriage plot fails, and Jane Austen fails to punish her for the shame and self-knowledge that the reader expects until the end of the novel. This may be because she is a bit of a fan of this deceitful and dour-headed character herself. After all, Lady Susan wielded power primarily to destroy other people’s homes and to try to torture her own daughter. In this work, Austen seems to divide herself into two parts. On the one hand, she delightedly displays the vital energy of a gifted, Bohemian lady, while at the same time rejecting the sexiness and selfish desires of her heroine’s story.

Mrs. Susan hopes to find another school for her daughter unless she gets married soon. Sympathetic Aunt Catherine had no idea of Mrs. Susan’s intentions, but she suspected that Frederica had had other reasons for dropping out of school than, as her mother claimed, an impatient attempt to escape the teacher’s education. And she believes that if you neglect early education, it will be difficult for children to make up for it when they grow up. Frederica stayed. She had a piano to play, but her aunt seldom heard her play. Similarly, there are many books in her room. But, she says, as a girl who has been running wild for the past 15 years, she can’t read them and won’t. Of course, what she said might be true, and Jane would probably agree with that. However, in this novel, Jane Austen’s purpose is not to talk about educational theory, but to expose the cruelty and hypocrisy of Lady Susan.

From the perspectives of Mrs. Susan, Mrs. Vernon, Mrs. Johnson, Master Reginald and other protagonists, the novel reveals the characters’ relations and ugliness, good and evil, and embodies the writing characteristics of the coexistence of multiple morality and the echo of narrators and their voices.

Book Review: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: 9780307386878 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Austen made a highly realistic discussion of women’s issues at that time. She examines the heroines in the patriarchal society at that time. In that society, the value of a person is based on the ownership of property. Since generations of property went to male heirs, they were at a disadvantage from the start and could only be subordinated to men. As a result, these types of characters appear again and again in Austen’s writings: the assertive father; a mother who is obsessed with her social status and does everything possible to marry off her daughter, well-equipped young men, whose cynicism reflects their superior social position, and marriageable daughters, from the elegant headless girl to the sensible or emotional young woman.

How can a heroine achieve personal happiness through marriage in such a stern, demanding and often hostile world? Austen’s admonition was to use reason to control emotion She argues that emotions are often a dangerous guide to female behaviour. If a man of superior condition, but not of unrequited affections, is to be wooed, the consequences are often disastrous. Either because of his personal preference or because of parental disapproval, the man chooses a better match. These views of Austen are most evident in this first novel. The whole beginning of Sense and Sensibility revolved around the question of fortune in Dashwood’s will, and the want of avarice of Mrs. John Dashwood, who had an annual income of ten thousand pounds.

In the process of dividing up the estate, Austen makes no bones about the opposite characteristics of the two Dashwood sisters. Elinor was a very sensible, calm woman who, though only nineteen, was a good mother’s adviser. She was wonderfully kind and affectionate, but she knew how to hold back her feelings. It was a subject which her mother had yet to learn, and which one of her sisters had stubbornly refused to learn. Her sister Marianne’s talent was in many respects equal to her sister’s. She was inordinate in sorrow or joy. All is well but no discretion. That is to say, Marianne allowed her feelings to dominate her actions, while Elinor would not be swayed by such impulses.

Austen’s intention is very clear. She simply changed the original title of Elinor and Marianne to Sense and Sensibility to emphasize her theme. In this book, Austen shows the contrast between the characters of the two sisters. She narrates most of the stories from the perspective of Elinor’s outlook on life, ethics and social society, thus shaping a reasonable mortal. This is her ideal woman. When they learned that Willoughby had made full use of his superior social position, played with Marianne’s earnest love, abandoned the poor girl Eliza, and finally married the rich Miss Gray, Marianne was fully convinced of her folly, and her mother admitted that her admiration of Willoughby had been imprudent. Reason thus prevailed in both sisters. Austen arranged a happy ending for them. The book begins with comedy, and there is a disturbance in the middle. Marian almost becomes a tragedy, which ends in comedy.

Child of God by Cormac McCarthy

Child of God: Cormac McCarthy: 9780679728740: Amazon.com: Books

In the Appalachian town of Seville, Tennessee, a 27-year-old young man named Ballard is deprived of his property by the town government for not paying property taxes. He is forced to retreat to the wilderness and gradually degenerates into a pathological killer and necrophiliac. Ballard is an Appalachian native, an oddity to outsiders, an outlier to the local community. After a fire, Ballard went to live in a cave, taking on an increasingly primitive look. He is losing his house, his reputation, his social ties, and his life. Modern civilization gradually retreated backward into the wilderness, to the edge of the world, and finally there was no way back. How does a person become progressively deprived? How could a naked life exist without anything? He was determined to go on, for there was no way back, and the world was as lovely as any other day, but he was riding his mule to death. Child of God is Cormac McCarthy’s third novel, written in a sober, everyday style about murder and mysterious nature. The short, concise and thick sentences are interlaced with long, grotesque sentences, with rich southern Gothic flavor and dark romantic color. Under McCarthy’s indifferent and compassionate eyes, young Ballard’s lonely life was like a cruel and moving wilderness epic, with the exiles singing silently from beginning to end.

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Amazon.com: No Country for Old Men (9780375706677): Cormac McCarthy: Books

The story takes place in the town of Rio Grande river, west Texas, USA, on the border with Mexico in 1980. A penniless former Vietnam war veteran, Llewelyn Moss, came across several dead bodies, a huge amount of heroin and a large amount of cash used to trade drugs while hunting. The dead were gangsters who had been shot in a firefight. Llewelyn immediately decided to leave the scene of the gun drug trafficking money to take home to hide. During the night, the nervous Llewelyn returned to the trading site. So far, sinister gang leader sends out cold-blooded killer Anton Chigurh, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, and Llewelyn launched the killing journey that pursues each other.

Moss gets in trouble for his lust for money, and his experience is representative of the universal human desire, and the constant pain and fear that comes with it. He reflects the good and evil side of human nature. The ending of the characters gives the world a lot of inspiration. People living in today can’t escape the temptation, who also have to face the temptation. Moss’s tragedy is undoubtedly a wake-up call for those who walk on the edge of desire. The most steadfast self-control is a powerful weapon against temptation. Temptation is the test of personal world outlook, outlook on life, values, moral character and other internal comprehensive quality, among which the most important one is virtue.

In the same circumstances, it is virtue that plays the fundamental role in why some people are able to survive and others are willing to perish. Therefore, in today’s society, everyone should strive to improve personal cultivation and self-protection awareness. At the same time, tempering desire is also key in the face of temptation. From the perspective of behavioral science, desire is a double-edged sword, reasonable and moderate desire is the basic psychological motivation to promote the development of social economy. The unrestrained selfish desire and evil thoughts will make people lose the true, the good and the beautiful and become the prisoners of material desire, and even become the root of evil.

The novel No Country for Old Men shows the dark side of American society, such as blood, violence and crime, attacks the anti-civilization phenomenon of excessive material desire and moral decay under the specific social and historical background, and expresses the sense of helplessness through the absence of heroes. Many Americans do not believe in heroes and worship money, indicating that they think money can bring them more security in life. Neither government nor personal heroes can be trusted. However, the author McCarthy still hopes to express his yearning for the peaceful and tranquil past of American society through allegorical novels, as well as his expectation of energetic heroes who can save human lives and souls.