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Life Experiences - Book Report/Review Example

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The life experiences of every person go towards making him or her what they are. What that person becomes allows them to create their own destiny, happiness, and achieve their potential. But circumstances, values, attitudes and wider society can aid or prevent such self-fulfillment, and that can lead to dangerous outcomes…
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Life Experiences
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"Life Experiences"

Download file to see previous pages The three pieces are placed in different settings, with varied themes; Hughes warned of potential for destruction if dreams were put aside; Walker showed differing views on culture and heritage, and Glaspell explored gender differences, moral choices and women's rights. All contained the 'dream' metaphor in some form, that essential part of reaching self-fulfillment. It is not enough to be well-fed, clothed and warm, we must always seek to achieve our potential. In the three pieces, there is evidence of striving for that. Hughes asked the rhetorical question, "What happens to a dream deferred (l.1), metaphorically and symbolically answering it with the sensory imagery of waste and decay: "Does it stink like rotten meat" (l. 6), "Or fester like a sore - " (l. 4). Mama, in 'Everyday Use' (Walker, 1973) exposed her relationship with her daughter Dee, in the opening paragraphs of the story, with her dream.
Mama had already told us her reality, dispelling the dream images with gentle, sardonic wit, with a tone of acceptance of their differences, unlike the angry tone of 'Harlem'. Mama showed their separate values and attitudes and that she was content with her lot and happy with her place in society. Hughes and Dee wanted more, and Mama told how fiercely Dee worked to achieve this. In a different time and place, but with a similar, austere rural setting, Susan Glaspell's 'Trifles' depicted the destruction of Minnie Wright's dreams, picked over by uncaring male authority, but recognized by the women there.
Mrs. Hale's description of Minnie suggested a young woman full of hope and happiness, with dreams, in fact. "She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster,singing in the choir." (Glaspell, 1916) A connection to 'Harlem' occurred with the imagery of "Or crust and sugar over - / like a syrupy sweet." (l. 7-8), reflected in 'Trifles' with similar meaning: "It's a shame about her fruit. I wonder if its all gone." A senseless, sticky waste is called to mind with both statements. These small things take on great significance in both pieces, setting a tone of regret and foreshadowing a disaster to come, the explosion when dreams are destroyed. In contrast, Walker's Maggie and Mama had less aspirations to break out or away from the hardworking, old fashioned life they led; they understood and accepted their heritage and culture very differently from Dee. She, even as a child, had the determination and ambition to realize her dreams: "She was determined to stare down any disaster in her efforts." (Walker, 1973). The author put the point of view "but at what price" as the story moved to explore the symbolic importance of the quilts, yet another connection between the two stories, and one that can possibly be related to 'Harlem', as will be mentioned later.
'Harlem's' small things combined to become a metaphor for trouble ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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