Thursday, January 28, 2010

Joaquin Murieta

What I've noticed so far of Joaquin Murieta is the rapid pace and lack of chapters. Still, the reading is refreshing in a way. I know Murieta's past and encounters thereafter seem crude and inhumane: they are shockingly violent and simple--I like this. In Blithedale we're confined to perceiving a more withdrawn and upright reality where the tension lies in  developing character relationship. Here, the scope is much-much broader as we see men being cut down and shot--each who have their lives ended at the whim of Murieta. As a reader I'm glad to encounter this kind of writing. Where as we're often forced in perceiving the subtle and simple as novel ideas, there is equally as much to gain from novels of larger proportions because they force us to consider our mortality within the context of existence as a whole: thoughts of the sublime get stirred up, and there's a feeling of awe spurred on by the heavy contrast of circumstance. I'll have to say that characters like Murieta have always intruiged me. He's a Zorro type of ruffian who actually lived a life that most of us would deam foolish, inhumane, and terrible. Often, people like Murieta aren't born like this--fate leaves them no choice in the matter. I'm looking forward to seeing where this book ends up. The pace is a welcome change.

--Michael Molder

Thursday, January 21, 2010

--the ending considered. (The Blithedale Romance)

ALTHOUGH there was a generous amount of hints foreshadowing the tragic end, Zenobia's death still came very uneasy. As it was mentioned in class, the book seems to still fiercely focus on Coverdale's feelings: how he seemingly went on unchanged, indifferent, and confused. Priscilla and Hollinsworth move on -- becoming much less ambitious -- and Blithedale is considered a failed experiment. Still, I couldn't help but dwell on the ambiance of the death--Zenobia, that is. All of the others' simple commentary after the fact, well, seemed like adding insult to injury. They kept on saying that it was very unbecoming of her to take her own life like that: a woman with a personality such as hers. Much of it got me thinking of exile, the reasons behind it, and how easily some people are driven away from others. Blithedale itself was a sort-of strange observation in exile. New settlers, random people, or just curious ones came by, but the fact is that it was a group of people seeking change, reform, and relief. There would be no tyrannical royalty ruling over head, no religious and no sexual oppression. And with all that in mind, I can't help but think of spite. Some of us break away from our groups to show them that we're able to live how we want and succeed at it: we didn't need them afterall. Or some of use just run, hoping that we're missed. After all, any type of attention is better than none at all--especially if you're feeling desperate and lonely. Now, I can't say that I know for sure, but Zenobia seemed to be that exiled girl (within that town of exiles): even in this group--actually, especially in a group. Some people are innately alone in a way we can't see or understand. Just as Zenobia seemed to be constantly begging for attention, they do not even offer her this after death. Actually, the hauling of her corpse was the most intimate kind of attention she received in the entire book. Overall, the setting of the novel, for me, became blurred. Coverdale's simple observations and thoughts about Blithedale lost much footing. Since I tend to be a fan of the character-driven novel, I felt like Hawthorne delivered. At the end I cared little for Blithedale, its' ideals and strange ways, and loathed Coverdale. If anything, death (specifically suicide) should always be approached with respect. If never seeing someone again isn't enough to wake you up to someone's grief, perhaps you're better off dead too.