A Simple Heart, Punishment, Poems

  1. Felicite is a very kind hearted, yet simple-minded servant. She is simple-minded due, I believe, to lack of opportunity rather than lack of effort. Being orphaned, Felicite had no education and, lived in virtual social isolation. Although uneducated, Felicite is described as an extremely diligent and hardworking women. The things she does, she does well. When Felicite had the opportunities to learn, such as when she went with Virginie to catechism, she took full advantage of them.

While Felicite may have been simple, she loved deeply. I do believe that she cared more for Mme. Aubain’s children then did the madam herself. Felicite was able to think of her own family as well as that of Mme. Aubain. The character of Mme. Aubain is displayed in her thought for Felicite. When Felicite mentioned that she had not heard from her nephew in six months, Mme. Aubain initially didn’t remember who Felicite was talking about, then promptly dismissed Victor as less important than her own daughter. When Felicite finds out about Victor’s death, Mme. Aubain does not attempt to console her or grieve alongside her, but instead leaves her by herself. Felicite is expected to continue with the household chores as if nothing had happened.


  1. I had trouble finding any consistency in the way that women are described throughout these poems. In Leda and the Sawn, the girl is described as being at the mercy of the Swan. Leda is depicted as the “staggering girl’ who is “mastered by the brute blood of the air’ (853). In the poem Among the School Children, the teacher of a school is a nun. Teachers are thought to be stable, firm, and reliable, rather than helpless, as women in some other poems which we read were characterized.

Baudelaire describes and affirms qualities of women, such as shapeliness, femininity, and beauty. He does not describe qualities of a woman’s personality, instead focusing on their physical attributes. Women are portrayed as an asset which men must work to hold on to. Men must take full advantage of this asset for as long as they can because at any moment, Baudelaire conveys, it might vanish. In the poem Her Hair, Baudelaire describes a lover who stays only because she receives from his hand “stars of sapphire, pearl, ruby’ (602). Without these gifts the women will be “deaf to my (the speaker’s) desire’ (602). In A Carcass the speaker describes the fate of his lover. Although he adores her now and appreciates her physical beauty, she will inevitably become a thing of disgust, moldering into the ground. The speaker has his lover for only a short time before she becomes despicable.

Baudelaire does not describe men to the extent to which he describes women. Men are typically the ones speaking. When a relationship is described, they are the one who are working to hold onto a women. Men are depicted as the more thoughtful and used of the sexes.


  1. Rama and Sita have a great love for eachother based on mutual sacrifice. Sita was willing to give up her comfortable home to move into the forest with the banished Rama. Rama, when Sita was taken, was willing to travel across the earth and battle monsters in order to retrieve his love.

Chidam and Chandara’s love seems to be based on convenience. When each approves of what the other is doing, then they are filled with love. Chidam is willing, however, to sacrifice his own wife to save his guilty brother. Chidam tells Chandara the defense that she should make, hoping to save her. When Chandara realizes the position her husband has put her in, her heart hardens, and she resolves to go to the noose intentionally to spite her husband.

Sita and Chandara are similar in that both of them are portrayed as having a strong will. Chandara, earlier in the story, runs away from her husband’s house, repeatedly going against his wishes. In the end she hard headedly goes to her death, although she is not guilty. Sita is given the opportunity to stay in the palace when Rama leaves, and although Rama begs her to stay behind, she resolves to go along.


  1. In the first stanza of The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats, a number of scenes are described. Each picture is skewed in a slightly horrific way. A falcon, typically directed by his master, “cannot hear the falconer’, a “ceremony of innocence’ is corrupted, “the centre cannot hold’ his post any longer. It is as if Yeat is describing all things of normality as coming to an end, replaced by chaos.

In the second stanza the speaker looks to the future. If everything is turning toward disaster, must not the end be near? The speaker mentions the Christian event of the Second Coming, the event at which the world will end and all will be made right. His tone is desperate, yet confused and mocking. It is as if he does not believe the Second Coming to truly be the answer, but he also doesn’t know what other option there is. If there is no hope of a Second Coming, will the world continue to spiral in despair?

2 thoughts on “A Simple Heart, Punishment, Poems

  1. Jared

    First, I would like to commend you as a much better interpreter of poetry. I think that I completely missed the intent of Baudelaire’s work and that you had much more substantial excerpts and points made. Also, good points about Felicite taking the opportunity to learn when it is presented. I had initially dismissed her as simple minded because she could not perceive basic items like maps, which were placed before her.

    On “The Second Coming” I did not take away the idea that he was confused, but rather confident in a disruptive ending of society as we know it. He was alive and well during the events leading up to the world wars and when combined with his “gyres” and mystical theology, he seemed to be sure that the current cycle was at its end. This of course, was just my interpretation and nothing more.

  2. jwmaring

    On your third point regarding the comparison between Rama and Sita and Chidam and Chandara, I go along with everything that you said entirely. I just wanted to point out one omission you made that might have changed your response somewhat. In the end, Rama doubted Sita’s faithfulness to him, even though it was for no other reason to appease onlookers as to their doubts about her. She showed her resolve to have never wavered in loving him by marching into the fire and coming out unharmed. Chandara it seems marched into the fire (in this case a noose) as well, but she apparently did not have the unyielding love for Chidam to come out at the other end unscathed.

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