- Felicite is a saint. She faces love boldly and is denied, but that doesn’t stop her. She bravely forges forward in her life, and is a mentor to Mme. Aubain kids and thinks of herself in terms of her usefulness to other people. For example, when she saved Mme Aubain and her kids from the bull, she was courageous without even thinking about it. Although she is perhaps nothing special at a first glance, and is without higher learning, she exemplifies the characteristics that embody a hero, and a saint, because she refuses a life of attachments and excessive comforts, almost subconsciously, but I am convinced it is because she is a source of higher teachings, much like Rama in the search for Dharma. She is a model for the children, and is kind and without an ego, and has a seemingly spiritual relationship with her parrot friend.
Mme. Aubain, on the other hand, is learned and educated, and yet with that knowledge comes a certain ego and bitter view of the world that is due to her wealthy and privileged mind that makes her single-minded and not very relatable. Felicite, on the other hand, is entirely open-minded and is more capable of experiencing the world for what it has to offer than Mme. Aubain, who already has a certain disposition from the world.
- The imagery I get form Baudelaire’s depiction of women is highly sensualized. He seems as though he respects them and their contribution as a romantic role in his poems, but otherwise he doesn’t go into it much more than that. For example, some of his poem titles are very sensual, like “Avec ses vÃªtements ondoyants et nacrÃ©s” (With Her Undulating and Pearly Garments), and “Parfum Exotique” (Exotic Perfume). In the latter, some lines include, I “inhale the fragrance of your welcoming breast’ and “Guided by your fragrance to these charming climates,’ it is very sexy and yet you do not know the woman Baudelaire is talking about, nor is any more information given except the effect she has on him.
- Chidan and Chandara and Rama and Sita are polar opposite couples. When Rama is exiled, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana join him, and they spend 14 years in exile together. When Chidan’s brother finds his wife hasn’t made dinner one night, he kills her and Chidan blames his wife, Chandara for the murder. Whereas Rama and Sita do everything for each other and are supportive, Chidan throws his wife to the gallows and Chandara’s final act was of defiance at her husbaNd.
- The poem that spoke to me was “Lida and the Swan.’ I chose this poem particularly for the unsettling way the imagery powerfully put the image of a huge bird raping a girl into my head. The fact that this feat can be accomplished with only a handful of stanzas, it’s quite remarkable. He so accurately describes the helplessness of the girl, and the violence the bird was inflicting on her, with words like beating, staggering, shuddering, and yet he also inputs sensual terms in there by talking about her thighs. It’s very unsettling but also powerful.
Just reading your take on “Lida and the Swan” made me feel the power and gusto the poem possesses. Very different feeling from the poem I chose.