Flaubert; Baudelaire; Rimbaud; Tagore; Yeats

1) I am inclined to believe that Felicite can be grouped as both a saint and a simple-minded servant. If I were to lean one way or the other, I would probably say Felicite was more of a simple-minded servant. But at the same time, I would venture to say that a saint would probably be more effective in their beliefs and in their actions if they were also simple-minded and not so much curious about thoughts or experiences outside the realm of devout holiness. Felicite did not appear to have a whole lot going for her at an early age, and this shaped her thinking. As a result, Felicite hung on to whatever it was she had been given. Felicite became Mme. Aubain’s servant and clung to that as a means of survival; she also clung to Virginie, and in her absence clung to Victor until his departure and death. She then clung onto Loulou even after the bird died by having him stuffed.

Felicite was not fortunate in life the way many would ever hope or dream to be. But she somehow had enough to live a life of devotion to Mme. Aubain. Mme. Aubain differed from Felicite of course in that she was widowed mother. She also had a house and was generally well off. It certainly seemed as though Mme. Aubain lacked the power to do much of anything herself. She first let her son go to a boarding school because she belived that would be the proper place for him since he lacked a father, and then later sent off Virginie to a Convent, believing she needed to be made “into an accomplished person” (528). And then she had Felicite do mostly everything around the house. So the key difference between her and Felicite was that Mme. Aubain was a societal figure as well as a mother, while Felicite was a person with great strength and resilience that was vital to ensuring Mme. Aubain could continue to exist as a societal figure and a mother. But what was common to both women is that they were entirely dependent on each other in their daily lives.

2) In Baudelaire’s poems, I primarily see women being looked at as object’s that appeal to men. I especially see this in the Invitation to the Voyage, where it seems that a man’s appeal to a women to embark with him on a journey to a land located at one of the four corners of the Earth would be much more splendid than if he were to go it alone. After this, I have much trouble penetrating the true meaning of his works with regard to women. It seems that he characterizes men with great jubilance when they are young and bold. Later in life, as they come near the end, as in the Song of Autumn I, he depicts man as frail such that “My spirit is like a tower whose crumbling walls The tireless battering-ram brings to the ground” (605). It seems as though both sexes are regarded as virtuous and appealing when they are young, and decrepit and worthless as they become old. Perhaps this is his perception of reality.

3) The key difference is Chidam and Chandara’s devotion to each other was partially superficial. They both were highly desirous people by other potential partners out there. Whenever a life event did not seem to add up in their life and possibly hint of an occurring scandal, they were quick to act out toward each other. In essence, there was a lack of mutual trust between them, and they may have used manipulative psychology in an attempt to keep the other spouse from committing adultery.

After Radha’s murder by her husband, Chidam weighed his love for his wife against that of his brother and decided to implicate his wife in the murder. Although clearly in a bind, Chidam’s love for Chandara wavered. And Chandara never forgave him for this. In the end however, Sita’s love for Rama was unyielding, and she aimed to prove her faithfulness to him despite his perceived callousness toward her. Rama and Sita went on to live a long and happy life together. Chandara of course met her end at the gallows.

4) In Easter 1916, I see a lament being given to all the sacrifices made in a long struggle for Irish Independence. It is said that “Hearts with one purpose alone, Through summer and winter seem Enchanted to a stone To trouble a living stream” (851). The hearts with one purpose alone are the figures carrying out the movement for independence, and they conduct their struggle with nonstop pursuit against the British authority, the living stream. But this struggle has its vices; “Too long a sacrifice Can make a stone of the heart” (851). Surely there is a better way, for as Easter 1916 goes on, “And what if excess love Bewildered them till they died” (852)? Perhaps this poem was meant to make future revolutionaries think before they act? That would be my interpretation.


One thought on “Flaubert; Baudelaire; Rimbaud; Tagore; Yeats

  1. emrickrachel

    I agree with your conclusion that Felicite is both a saint and simple-minded servant. For me, it seemed like she was just trying to make it through life and was only a saint do to her trying to not do the wrong things, and succeeding.

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