- Is Felicite a saint or a simple-minded servant? Or is she both? Or is she neither? Outline your perspective of her character as compared to Mme. Aubain’s. How do they differ?
The definition of a saint, in accordance to the Catholic church is a person who after death, may be the object of veneration and prayer. To me, Felicite seemed more of a simple-minded servant who may have had some saint like attributes. I think that she had a natural inclination to do her job to the best of her ability, and was a very devote servant. However, a saint to me I always thought of as someone, who although human, seemed to be perfect. By this I mean they are selfless, never are one to complain about their trials, etc. “…never did she mention her anxieties’ (Flaubert 530). However, in more than one instance, I think she struggled very much to be like a saint (although I doubt this was her intention) “Felicite sighed and thought that Madame lacked feeling’ (Flaubert 528). I think that her mistress, Mme. Aubain tries to put on a more severe front, but inside has a soft spot, especially for Felicite. After the death of Virginie, they reminisce and hug each other. I think that both Felicite and Mme. Aubain are very similar in the way that they want whats best for the children and have a very tender love for them, however they differ in their social standings and different spots in the household.
- How are women imagined and characterized in the poems you read? What attitude is implied? Is it dual or contradictory? Does Baudelaire give similar weight to the description of men? What definitions of womanliness are depicted, affirmed, or criticized in his work?
It is my interpretation that woman (for the most part, Baudelaire seems contradictory on the subject) are seen in the same way. Very beautiful creatures, who over time, decay and turn into diseased, putrid things. Baudelaire, in his poem, Her Hair, describes a woman’s hair as a getaway from a hectic life. “Ill plunge my head, enamored of its pleasure,… Lulled by the infinite rhythm of its tides!’ (p 602). Contrarily, in his poem The Carcass, he describes a woman in very vivid terms as “Sweating out poisonous fumes, Who opened in slick invitational style, Her stinking and festering womb’ (p 603). Yeats seems to agree in that woman only have a certain number of days until “All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born’ (Easter 1916/ 851). It seems to me that Baudlaire describes man to be the keeper of all memories. As he describes in his poem Spleen LXXIX, he compares man to that of a tomb.
- How are Chidam and Chandara distinct from Rama and Sita?
They are totally opposite couples. Sita was devote and loving to Rama, and vice versa. While Chidam and Chandara are the opposite; they quarrel and have a very bitter relationships. Upon her death penalty, Chandara doesn’t even wish to see Chidam, I think she told her story so she would get the death penalty so that she could escape her husband.
- Pick a Yeat’s poem and discuss what it communicates to you and why.
When You Are Old, by Yeats, made me think of my grandparents. What this communicated to me was that, when you are old, and possibly coming to the end of your road, you at some point will sit and reminisce on your life. The decisions you made, your loved ones, etc. It was a bit sad, but seemed so true for me. I would say though that thinking about your decisions doesn’t just happen when you are old and by yourself, I think that this could happen at any stage in your life.
I agree with your first question that she should not be called a saint. I do believe she had a really good heart but I think that is a good place to leave it at.
I like the poem you picked. I personally liked the imagery, even though it seemed a little sad, of an old person sitting by the fire and remembering their life.
I picked the same poem by Yeats! When i read through the first through lines, I immediately thought of my grandparents too! I love your take on this poem.