The Process Of Grieving

Grief is a range of emotions and behaviours shown by people when confronted with a sudden loss. This range is divided up into a number of stages, or a process of grief. Doctor Granger Westburg developed 10 stages that illustrated these emotions linked with behaviour and then was followed by a number of people who developed another process of several stages based on this original theory. Doctor Westburg discovered that grief is a process, not a state, after observing these faced with loss.

He noted 10 stages, which are: shock; emotional release; isolation; physical symptoms; complete inability to cope with life; guilt; anger; inability to get back to normal activities; a return to reality; and then back to normal. These stages occur mainly in order, but some show later or arise when something affects the person the wrong way, this is when they go through several stages at one time. In the film “Thunder in my Head” were shown a woman, Bekky Saunders, a month after her husband died in a car accident.

This movie is seen at her first back at work. At work, a discussion with her boss activates a chain reaction of stages, from anger to isolation, which then leads to emotional release and some physical symptoms. These all include some anger towards her husband and the police, isolation because she wants to spend the night at home. She, during the night, is overcome with sadness that she has to sit down, wear the dead husband’s coat, as well as walking around her house yelling out words of bereavement and distress.

All through the day she is angry with everyone, including her mother. Her friend that she has always been with at nights since the accident was forced to come back in the early hours of the morning to Bekky’s house. Bekky was disrupted by her friend, from her grieving process by the friend coming over. On the same scale is the grieving process for the dying, outlined and illustrated by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. This theory consists of: shock/denial; rage/anger; bargaining; depression (which is broken into two groups – reactive and weaning off); and finally acceptance.

The first stage, is apparent when the patient hears the news for the first time, and starts saying phrases like, “no, not me” and “it can’t be me”. The patient then goes to denial, saying “the results are wrong”, or “could you check my results again, please? “. The second stage is when the patient is angry in a general sense, preferring to blame his/herself, or sometimes the whole world. A semi-stage of rage/anger is when the patient constantly asks “why me? “. This question is directed at the people around the patient, but more prominently God.

In the third stage of the dying, the patient accepts his/her fate only temporarily, as to seem like the person is in control, making it easier to sway a person the patient is trying to bargain with. The most usual case of bargaining is with God, for example “If you let me live one more day, ill become a good Christian and go to church everyday”. This is not the final peace, only a temporary truce. In the ‘reactive’ mini-stage of depression, the patient starts to feel despair because s/he can’t hold or see in some cases their kids, or see another sunrise, et cetera.

This is when memories of their life come back to them on their hospital bed. The second mini-stage is ‘weaning off’. This other mini-stage is out of the two the most serious, due to the patients unwillingness to see people, the number of visitors goes down less and less. This is where the patient has none or only marginal cares about the outside world, politics, or when. The male patients in this stage have a major problem, because dealing with this level of depression makes them want to cry. This is hard due to our society where it is a ‘disconcerting’ look at the man’s sensitivity.

The man is ashamed of himself if he weeps in the presence of anyone else. The last stage is acceptance, or some times called the OK stage. It is when the patient fines inner peace with her/himself. This stage has no fear, but bliss. This stage is sometimes confused with Resignation, which is when the patient could not care less about her/his ordeal, thinks that the pain is not worth it and wishes to die. In Christianity, there are many beliefs and rituals to do with dying, death and funerals.

It is customary (and in most places the only way you can legally bury your dead), that the deceased be buried in a coffin, or in some other cases, cremated. At funerals, the service is held by a priest, who continues to tell loving things about the deceased, and how s/he is going up to heaven and bask in the glory of God, as well as prayers and psalms for the soul of the deceased. These ceremonies help the dead person’s family to let go of the person and to convince them that the person is going to a better place, and s/he will be okay under the watchful eyes of God.

Humor and Healing: The Mind-Body Connection

“As it is not proper to cure the eyes without the head, nor the head without the body; so neither is it proper to cure the body without the soul. ” Socrates(Cousins, 56) The word, to heal, comes from the root word “haelen” which means to make whole. Bringing together the body, mind and spirit can be healing. The word humor itself is a word of many meanings. The root of the word is “umor” meaning liquid or fluid (Moyers, 221). In the Middle Ages, humor referred to an energy that was thought to relate to a body fluid and an emotional state.

This energy was believed to determine health and disposition. In modern dictionaries, humor is defined as “the quality of being laughable or comical” or as “a state of mind, mood, spirit”. Humor enhances the creative process and is one of the coping devices used to combat stress and disease. Humor can be used successfully in the classroom, in the workplace, in therapy and counseling, and in medicine to assist in the healing process (Cousins, 78). Laughter improves self-esteem, enhances social interaction, and generally makes life more enjoyable.

Laughter can provide a cathartic release, a purifying of emotions and release of emotional tension. Laughter, crying, raging, and trembling are all cathartic activities which can unblock energy flow. Laughter is more than a visual and vocal behavior. It is accompanied by a wide range of physiological changes (Swencionis, 162). During vigorous laughter the body brings in extra oxygen, shudders the internal organs, causes muscles to contract, and activates the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands. This results in an increase in the secretion of endorphins (internally produced morphine-like molecules).

This “internal jogging” produces an increase in oxygen absorption, increase in heart rate, relaxation of the muscles, and increases in the number of disease fighting immune cells (Moyers, 230). Humor is a quality of perception that enables people to experience joy even when faced with adversity. “Stress is an adverse condition during which one may experience tension or fatigue, feel unpleasant emotions, and sometimes develop a sense of hopelessness or futility. Responding to these demands while protecting oneself from the potential harmful impact will help one to remain healthy” (Dreher, 27).

Hans Selye, a pioneer researcher in psychosomatic medicine, defines stress as “the rate of wear and tear within the body” as it adapts to change or threat (Dreher, 20). In his book, Selye clarified that a person’s interpretation of stress is not dependent solely on an external event, but also depends upon their perception of the event and the meaning they give it; how you look at a situation determines if you will respond to it as threatening or challenging. As an individual in crisis gathers new information about the impact of the crisis on his life, he begins to change the meaning of the crisis for his life.

Early devastating thoughts are replaced with more realistic ones. As this process progresses, the meaning of the crisis to the individual’s life changes, and therefore, the emotional impact changes. As the emotional impact lessens the individual becomes more receptive to a humorous perspective about the crisis. Illness and disease can result from an inability to cope effectively with daily adversity. Daily stress unchecked over time is the biggest culprit and perpetrator of illness. There may be some truth to the old saying, “It’s the little things that get you.

If laughter is so powerful it can help to cure diseases, think what it can do to help with everyday annoyances and stress (Dreher, 20). Stress has been shown to create unhealthy physiological changes. The connection between stress and high blood pressure, muscle tension, immunosuppression, and many other changes has been known for years. There is now proof that laughter creates the opposite effects (Swencionis, 152). It appears to be the perfect antidote for stress. The field of Psychology has for a long time recognized the beneficial influences of humor.

Most neuroimmunologists acknowledged that a sense of humor is a necessary attribute of self-actualized, fully functioning people. The use of humor as a method of stress reduction and healing became popular in the 1980’s following the publication of Anatomy of an Illness by Norman Cousins. Cousins, suffering from ankylosing spondylitis, a crippling life-threatening disease, claimed that laughter was a significant feature of his treatment and recovery. Believing that negative emotions had a negative effect on his health, he theorized that the opposite was also true, that positive emotions would have a positive effect.

He followed traditional medical treatment, with added vitamin C and plenty of laughter. Cousins, although one of the best known proponents of using positive emotions to improve health, was certainly not the first to assert such a relationship. As early as the 1300s, Henri de Mondeville, professor of surgery wrote: Let the surgeon take care to regulate the whole regimen of the patient’s life for joy and happiness, allowing his relatives and special friends to cheer him, and by having someone tell him jokes.

At Loma Linda University School of Medicine’s Dept. of Clinical Immunology, Dr. William Berk has produced carefully controlled studies showing that the experience of laughter lowers serum cortisol levels, increases the amount of activated T lymphocytes, increases the number and activity of natural killer cells, and increases the number of T cells that have helper/suppressor receptors. In short, laughter stimulates the immune system, off-setting the immunosuppressive effects of stress (Dienstfrey, 73).

This research is part of the rapidly expanding field of psychoneuroimmunology that defines the communication links and relationships between our emotional experience and our immune response as mediated by the neurological system. It is proven that, during stress, the adrenal gland releases corticosteroids and that elevated levels of these have an immunosuppressive effect. Berk’s research demonstrates that laughter can lower cortisol levels and thereby protect our immune system. Activation of T cells provides lymphocytes that are “awakened” and ready to combat a potential foreign substance.

Natural Killer (NK) cells are a type of immune cell that attacks viral or cancerous cells that do not need sensitization to be lethal. They are always ready to recognize and attack an aberrant or infected cell (Dienstfrey, 75). This becomes very important in the prevention of cancer. Cells within our bodies are constantly changing and mutating to produce potential carcinogenic cells. An intact immune system can function appropriately by mobilizing these natural killer cells to destroy abnormal cells.

Receptor sites are important as a communication link between the brain and the immune system. Emotions trigger the release of neurotransmitters from neurons in the brain. These chemicals enter the blood stream and “plug into” receptor sites on immune cells. When this occurs, that cell’s activity can be altered in either a positive or negative direction. Many cells within the body have different receptor sites on their surface; of particular interest in this research are those on the immune cells. Other researchers have supported these findings.

One researcher, at Harvard, showed that the activity of natural killer cells is decreased during periods of increased life change which were accompanied by severe emotional disturbance; whereas subjects with similar patterns of life change and less emotional disturbances had more normal levels of NK cell activity. At the VA Medical Center in San Diego in 1987, Irwin noted that NK cell activity decreased during depressive reactions to life changes. At the Ohio State University School of Medicine, Janice and Ronald Glaser studied the cellular immunity response patterns of medical students before tests.

Their work showed a reduction in the number of helper T cells and a lowered activity of the NK cell during the highly anxious moments just before the examination. Salivary immunoglobulin A is the first-line defense against the entry of infectious organisms through the respiratory tract. At SUNY, Stone revealed that salivary immunoglobulin A response level was lower on days of negative mood and higher on days with positive mood. This finding was quickly confirmed by two other researchers.

Dillon, working at Western New England College; found subjects showed an increased concentration of salivary IgA after viewing a humorous video; while Lefcourt, from University of Waterloo in Onterio, showed that subjects who tested strong for appreciation and utilization of humor had an even stronger elevation of salivary IgA after viewing a humorous video. All this research, done in the last ten years, helps us understand the mind-body connections. The emotions and moods we experience directly effect our immune system.

A sense of humor allows us to perceive and appreciate the incongruities of life and provides moments of joy and delight. These positive emotions can create neurochemical changes that will buffer the immunosuppressive effects of stress (Sobel, 138). This study indicates that if one is encouraged and guided to use humor, they can gain a sense of control in their life. Use of humor represents what Kobassa calls cognitive control (Dienstfrey, 80). One cannot control events in the external world but one can has the ability to control how one views these events and the emotional response that one chooses to have.

Further research would be needed to determine how long these effects persist. Humor perception involves the whole brain and serves to integrate and balance activity in both hemispheres. Dr. Robert Derks, at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, has shown that there is a unique pattern of brain wave activity during the perception of humor. EEG’s were recorded on subjects while they were presented with humorous material. During the setup to the joke, the cortex’s left hemisphere began its analytical function of processing words.

Shortly afterward, most of the brain activity moved to the frontal lobe that is the center of emotionality. Moments later the right hemisphere’s synthesis capabilities joined with the left’s processing to find the pattern — to ‘get the joke’. A few milliseconds later, before the subject had enough time to laugh, the increased brain wave activity spread to the sensory processing areas of the brain, the occipital lobe. The increased fluctuations in delta waves reached a crescendo of activity and crested as the brain ‘got’ the joke and the external expression of laughter began.

Derks’ findings shows that humor pulls the various parts of the brain together rather than activating a component in only one area. In conclusion, humor positively affects all systems of the body: muscles, organs, the neuroendocrine system, and the immune system. Physiologically this “internal jogging” increases heart rate and lowers blood pressure. It has been proven that there are stabilizing and restorative connections between the nervous system and the emotions, and that one’s psychological state can augment one’s immune response. Truly then, laughter is the best medicine.

Medea: A Civilized Barbarian

The term “Barbarian” is Greek in origin. The Greeks originally levied it at any races who were not of a Greek origin; especially those who threatened Greek civilization and culture. Because most of these “strangers” regularly assaulted Greek cities, the term “barbarian” gradually evolved into a rude term: a person who was a sub-human, uncivilized, and regularly practiced the most vile and inhuman acts imaginable. It is obvious that a barbarian has not been considered as a member of society as well as a woman in Ancient Greece. In many Greek tragedies that we have read women either play a secondary role or absent at all. That is why it is so unusual to read a tragedy where woman is a main character and not only that a woman is a foreigner, a barbarian.

Euripidess Medea was created in a period of Peloponesian War. Each war, regardless of the century it occurred, not only destroyed and killed but also caused the reappraisal of the values in the society. Literature, in Ancient Greece, used to be a main reflection of what the society thinks what values and rules it has and what impact the war had on peoples minds.

Obviously, the Peloponesian War has brought a lot of stress and chaos into the society, so during this time some poets have foreseen the intellectual revolution. Euripides, however, was the first one who created the play where he opposed a barbarian to someone civilized; he has his Medea confront Jason. The civilized Jason is more barbaric in his emotional callousness than the barbarian Medea, but by the end of the play she exacts a barbaric penalty.

The Nurse calls Medea a “strange woman.” She is anything but typical. Euripides admits from the outset that this is a bizarre tale of an exceptional human being.

Lest she may sharpen a sword an thrust to the heart,
Stealing into the palace where the bed is made,
Or even kill the king and the new-wedded groom,
And thus bring a greater misfortune on herself.

Two great pains tear Medea: the betrayal of Jason and her betrayal of her country and family (and consequent exile). The two are interwoven and double her sorrow. Guilt, loneliness, rejection, love, all war within her.

Ah, I have suffered
What should be wept for bitterly. I hate you,
Children of a hateful mother. I curse you
And your father. Let the whole house crash.

Of course Medea is barbarian, she came from a different country, she is violent and everyone knows that she posses the unique and in somewhat supernatural power that can make people to do things her way. These characteristics correspond to the definition of barbarian in the Ancient Greece. On the other hand, we realize that the part of her power is her intellect, which is not barbarians own distinctive feature. People, including the king, are afraid of Medea.

I am afraid of you, – why should I dissemble it? –
I believe their fear is based not only on the fact that she has a great passion and able to do something terrible, but also on the fact that people start to realize that a barbarian is a human who can think, who has emotions and feelings and, moreover, who can take control over them. Another factor that scares people is her being a woman. In Ancient Greece women had not had a political power; their voices have never been heard. Medeas voice is not only can be heard, but also her speeches are manipulative. She is able to use any rhetoric speech that appeals to the emotions of the people. Medea provokes a passion in them in response to her own.

You are a clever woman, versed in evil arts,
And are angry at having lost your husbands love.

Medea is smart, she is greatly aware of being a “foreigner” and the Corinthians seem to echo that awareness; she understands why she is not welcomed in the society, she realizes that she has to leave, but her emotional pain makes her to do unthinkable.

Pain is often the source of anger and then violence. That progression is one of Euripides’ main themes. “Great people’s tempers are terrible.” The greatness of the temper is one measure of the greatness of the person who is angry. Medeas passion causes human tragedy. Medea also understands that her passion and anger is based on the betrayal. Jason did not keep his word, he has broken the oath and this was unacceptable for Medea. At the same time, she realizes that in the Greek society people are more materialistic and ideas of love and faithfulness are seem to be barbaric and silly.

Change your ideas of what you want, and show more sense.

Medeas primitive passion is pitted against the civilized demands of a Jason. He is empty inside, he has no emotions, no passion; the only thing that he has is the desire. The desire to stabilize his political position. He used Medea for his own good: she helped him to escape and to survive. Right now it is the time for Jason to move on with his life; he doesnt need Medea any more. Moreover, in some way he thinks he helped Medea and she should be thankful for that.

In so far as you helped me, you did well enough.
But on this question of saving me, I can prove
You have certainly got from me more than you gave.

Jason, as he thinks, lives by the law instead of the sweet will of force. But what is the law? Who has it been written for? In Ancient Greece all the laws were written for the men, who used to have the political power. Jason is a perfect example of a representative of this society. He even admits, that women are the unnecessary creatures. They are needed only for producing children.

It would be better far for men
To have got their children in some other way, and women
Not to have existed. Then life would have been good .

Medea wants to make Jason suffer by making him listen, but for Jason her argument is invalid. I think Medea is trying to prove that the society, in which money and ones political position are two things that matter, will not have any future. There are some other things, such as love, dedication and ability to keep your word, that are needed in the society for its success. In this sense Medeas ideas are more civilized than Jasons emotionless and a blind desire for a power. As I mentioned earlier, these Medeas ideas are not valid in the Greek society, so she plays her barbaric game until the very end of the play. Lessons are learned and tables are turned. The oppressor cannot oppress forever.

Long Day’s Journey Into Night: Play by Eugene ONeill

In the play Long Days Journey Into Night by Eugene ONeill, the Tyrone family is haunted not by what is present in flesh facing them, but by memories and constant reminders of what has been the downfall of the family for years. ” No it can never be now. But it was once, before you-” (72) [James Tyrone referring to the Morphine addiction of his wife, Mary, which attributed to the undoing of the family]. Their trials and tribulations are well documented by ONeill through the proficient utilization of theme, characterization, plot, setting, and style.

Throughout the play, ONeills theme is one of a disclosure into the life of a seemingly normal family on the outside yet convoluted with bitterness on the inside. It portrays the actions of a dysfunctional family and brings us on a reflective journey from when the fledgling family had started, devoted to one another with high hopes for the future, to what it is today, a family engulfed in turmoil. “Who would have thought Jamie would grow up to disgrace usIts such a pityYou brought him up to be a boozer.” (110) In this excerpt from Marys conversation with James regarding their son, it is obvious that their life had taken a 180-degree turn from when their offspring were mere children with promise.

Characterization throughout the play helps us not only to understand the characters actions but also to see into the soul of each and to comprehend their thoughts and emotions, essentially assessing the motives for their actions. Early in the play, Mary is perceived to be a common, traditional housewife “She is dressed simplyshe has the simple, unaffected charm of a shy covenant-girl youthfulness she has never lost-an innate worldly innocence.” (13) Yet as the play progresses, she is portrayed in a different light. “I hope, sometime, without meaning it, I will take an overdose. I never could do it deliberately. The Blessed Virgin could never forgive me, then.” (121) It is apparent in this muttering by Mary to herself that her addiction has seized control over her and that she no longer can bear the pain.

James Tyrone is faced with many a problem. Through this tough time he is faced with personal, family, and financial conflicts, thus attributing to the plot. Besides having to deal with his wifes addiction, his sons ill health and drinking problems, and his financial decisions, (which have proven to be for the worse), James struggles with a personal conflict throughout the play. He believes that he may be the cause of some of the family problems and that he has dealt with them in an improper manner. “So Im to blame!” (39)

The setting of the play is the Tyrones Puritan New England home, which provides for many of the arguments that take place in the novel. These arguments often arise due to the fact that their house never really felt like a true home to them. “I never felt it was my home. It was wrong from the start” (44) The town in which the Tyrones made their residence also made for arguments and acrimony. Primarily “WASPs” dominated the area and the Tyrone family had always felt out of place, being that they were Irish Catholic. “Ive always hated this town and everyone in it.” (44)

The Style that ONeill uses is one of reflection, as the play is set on one day but goes in-depth about many past issues and events. The use of vivid descriptive phrases by all of the characters creates the feeling of their true unease and disappointment. “we sit pretending to forget, but straining our ears listening for the slightest sound, hearing the fog drip the eaves like the uneven tick of a rundown crazy clock”(152) Symbolism is also utilized by ONeill as he uses the fog that surrounds the Tyrone house to symbolize the “fog” that Mary is in as she is high on her morphine. “Its such a dismal, foggy evening.” (108)

Throughout the play, in his reflective style of writing, ONeill demonstrates how, in the past, all that has been said and done has had a significant influence on all that occurs in the present. The actions and statements which had been done have forever affected the Tyrone family, albeit adversely. Throughout it all, however, Mary always tries to keep a positive view and disposition. The final verse of the play is Mary reflecting on the good in her life, which ultimately manifested into bad: “Then in the spring something happened to me. Yes, I remember. I fell in love with James Tyrone and I was so happy for a time.” (176)

Critical Analysis: Like Water for Chocolate

An oppressed soul finds means to escape through the preparation of food in the novel, Like Water for Chocolate, “A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies,” published in 1989, written by Laura Esquivel. The story is set in revolutionary Mexico at the turn of the century. Tita, the young heroine, is living on her familys ranch with her two older sisters, her overbearing mother, and Nacha, the family cook.

At a very tender age, Tita is instilled with a deep love for food for Tita, the joy of living was wrapped up in the delights of food (7, Esquivel). The sudden death of Titas father, left Titas mothers unable to nurse the infant Tita due to shock and grief. Therefore Nacha, who [knows] everything about cooking (6, Esquivel) offers to assume the responsibility of feeding and caring for the young Tita. From that day on, Titas domain was the kitchen (7, Esquivel) Throughout the novel, food is used as a constant metaphor for the intense feelings and emotions Tita is forced to conceal.

Laura Esquivel uses magical realism, symbolism and conflict to postulate the idea that family tradition can hinder love but love surpasses any obstacles.

Upon the birth of Tita, her mother flooded the kitchen table and floor when her water broke. The fluid had turned to salt and had to be swept up off the floor. This type of thing happening in the real world is not going to happen. The fluid turning into the salt was definitely a magical realism element. The mysteries of cooking are treated in Like Water for Chocolate. The magical realism has the definition of being magical and unreal. The love that Tita had for her sister’s husband upon their marriage and throughout the time of their marriage lives.

Tita’s love never changed. It was the magical way Tita felt in her heart about the man she loved and the way she kept quiet to keep her mother happy, and not to hurt her sister’s feelings about the love she had for Pedro. Love is magical any way one looks at it. Tita turned all of her feelings into cooking. The magical way of love that Tita felt went into the cake batter. As she mixed it she cried and the tears dropped into the bowl.

The cake was baked, and people who ate it reflected each one’s feelings toward each other. The cooking had a mystical power that seemed to have some magical realism involved because of all the strange happenings due to the cooking.

The inner feeling of a person that has a boundary or threshold inside of them ready to ignite was what happened to the shower when Tita’s sister was in it. The threshold of the inner feelings of this girl was exploding. During her shower, the inner feelings of passion exploded, and flames from the passion that she was feeling caused the shower to catch on fire. In the excitement of the burning shower house, the girl ran out of the shower without any clothes, not even a towel. The magical realism was all the passion the girl had inside her that just erupted like a volcano. Tita’s sister ran out of the shower while it was burning.

At this time, a man riding a horse bareback came riding up and picked Tita’s sister up kidnapping her. The fact that she had no clothes on was unreal itself. However, a person has to wonder where this man came from, all at once, at the right time to pick her up. It’s as if the passion that the girl felt seemed to call out to this man to come and get her at this point and time. The magical realism was here in the fact that it was magical, yet it seemed so real.

Symbolisms of heat and fire infuse the novel as expressions of intense emotion. Because heat is the medium that causes food to undergo chemical change, substantial waves of it are present at many of the moments when food is being prepared. In the science of cooking, heat is a force to be used precisely; the novel’s title phrase like water for chocolate refers to the fact that water must be brought to the brink of boiling several times before it is ready to be used in the making of hot chocolate.

However, the heat of emotions, cannot be so controlled. Heat is a symbol for desire and physical love throughout the text: in Gertrudis’ flight from the ranch; Pedro’s lustful gazing at Tita in the shower; and the post-coital death of Pedro, among many other instances. The inner fire of the individual constitutes an important theme in the novel, and much of Tita’s struggle centers on cultivating this fire. These uses of fire point toward a duality in its symbolism, as a source of strength and a force of destruction. The coupling of death and desire that occurs when the love between Tita and Pedro is freed epitomizes this duality.
(Smith, Joan).

The conflict between Tita and her mother is the novels central point of emphasis. Throughout the novel Tita strives for love, freedom, and individuality, and her mother stands as the prime opposition to the fulfillment of these goals.

Jane Austen’s Emma and the Romantic Imagination

“To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.”

William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

Imagination, to the people of the eighteenth century of whom William Blake and Jane Austen are but two, involves the twisting of the relationship between fantasy and reality to arrive at a fantastical point at which a world can be extrapolated from a single grain of sand, and all the time that has been and ever will be can be compressed into the space of an hour. What is proposed by Blake is clearly ludicrousit runs against the very tide of reason and senseand yet the picture that the imagination paints of his verse inspires awe.

The human imagination supplies the emotional undercurrents that allows us to see the next wild flower we pass on the side of the road in an entirely different and amazing light.
In Austens Emma, the imagination is less strenuously taxed because her story of sensibility is more easily enhanced by the imagination, more easily given life than Blakes abstract vision of the great in the small because Emma is more aesthetically realistic. However, both rely on the fact that “[t]he correspondence of world and subject is at the center of any sensibility story, yet that correspondence is often twisted in unusual and terrifying shapes,” (Edward Young, 1741).

The heroine of Austens novel, Emma Woodhouse, a girl of immense imagination, maintains it by keeping up with her reading and art because, as Young contends, these are the mediums through which imagination is chiefly expressed by manipulating the relationships between the world and the subject at hand. However, even in this, Emmas imagination falls short. “The soul might have the capacity to take in the world or the atom if it werent for the bodys limitations getting in the way,” (Joseph Addison, 1712). As Addison supposes, the limitations of Emmas body keeps her from seeing the truths that her soul, if let free, would show her. One of these is that Frank Churchill, a handsome and well-bred man, is insincere and fake, while Mr. Knightley truly loves her like no other.

In Emmas love theme, Austen shows us how emotions and imagination can augment each other. “[I]t wassensibility which originally aroused imagination;on the other handimagination increases and prolongssensibility,” (Dugald Stewart, 1792). Due to Emmas endorsement of Mr. Elton, Harriet imagines feelings for him which become so real for her that she cant get him out of her mind.

Although the situation is a tragic one, it shouldnt be believed that a fantasy-generated reality is always bad. “Sympathy, the fellow-feeling with the passions of others, operates through a logic of mirroring, in which a spectator imaginatively reconstructs the experience of the person he watches,” (Adam Smith, 1759). Emma is miserably inept at this; she completely fails to use her imagination to construct a reality for herself as might be seen through Miss Batess eyes and thus generate some sympathy for the poor womans situation. Emotions can also be enhanced by imagined details. “I saw the iron enter into his soulI burst into tearsI could not sustain the picture of confinement which my fancy had drawn,” (Laurence Sterne, 1768).

Through details, Emma stokes the fires of Harriets imagination and turns her emotions for Mr. Martin against him. Smiths idea of sympathy and Sternes idea of details come together to form “that extensive influence which language hath over the heart,strengthens the bond of society, and attracts individualsto perform acts of generosity and benevolence,” (Henry Home, Lord Kames, 1762). Language holds power through the impression from memory that it conjures, that which Kames calls “ideal presence”. Individuals in society employ details in their imagination to form a common “ideal presence” in language.

The word “love,” for example, conjures up the same group of images with most people; the word has power because it is greater than the sum of its four letters. This sympathy of meaning between one person and the next is what allows people to identify with one another and galvanizes society. It is this that allows Emma to “read between the lines” of Mr. Eltons charade and understand its underlying meaning.

Because imagination enhances emotion, but emotion often contradicts reason, imagination was also seen to oppose reason and principle. “Particular incidents and situations occur, which either throw a false light on the objects, or hinder the true from conveying to the imagination the proper sentiment and perception,” (David Hume, 1757). Hume suggests that, in order to imagine truly and effectively, the mind must be as clear as possible.

Mr. Woodhouses inability to clear his head leads him to imagine problems with the food and health of other people. Or worse, “[t]his separation of conscience from feeling is a depravity of the most pernicious sort;when the ties of the first bind the sentiment and not the will, and the rewards of the latter crown not the heart but the imagination,” individuals will take leave of reason (Henry Mackenzie, 1785).

Mackenzies concern is that the limitless freedom of imagination will seduce people out of the more disciplined act of thinking and reasoning, just as Emma is fueled by the thought of all the potential matches that she can make and ignores reason and principle which would have suggested for her to stop meddling. “Reason” can also be interpreted as the willingness to function socially, that is, to work. “Reasonable” people preoccupied with physical labor lose their ability to imagine because there is no need for it and they remain in the best of health. In contrast, “in the decline of life, [imaginers] pay dearly for the youthful days of their vanity,” (George Cheyne, 1725). Jane Fairfax does just this. She gets so carried away with the idea of Frank and Emma being together that she imagines herself into a serious illness.

To people of the eighteenth century, imagination can serve as a source of aesthetic pleasure, or it can stimulate emotional responses that enhance visual images in opposition to reason. It has the capability to wrangle the body and make it sick, to falsify emotions, and charge a language with meaning. To imagine is to blend fantasy and reality in abstract but beautiful ways, to have a mind open to ideas, and to have a hand large enough to hold in its palm all of infinity and more.


Addison, Joseph. The Spectator, 26 September, 1712.
Austen, Jane. Emma. W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1993 (1816).
Blake, William. “Auguries of Innocence”. W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1993 (c.1803).
Cheyne, George. Retrospection. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1989 (1725).
Home, Henry, Lord Kames. Letter to Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. Wm. C. Brown Publishers, Oxford, 1978 (1762).
Hume, David. “On the Standard of Taste”. W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1990 (1757).
Mackenzie, Henry. Emotions of the Mind. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1984 (1785).
Smith, Adam. The Spectator, 27 April, 1759.
Sterne, Laurence. Tristram Shandy. Wm. C. Brown Publishers, Oxford, 1990 (1768).
Stewart, Dugald. The Process of Thought. W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1995 (1792).
Young, Edward, “Night Thoughts”. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1990 (1741).

Cyrano de Bergerac: Movie Review

The story of Cyrano de Bergerac is about a tragic love triangle it has effectively been told using a number of techniques including the Themes that arise, the Atmosphere of the film, and the Characters in the film.

Love, passion, friendship, hate, jealously loyalty and death are all universal themes that arise in the film. The Themes are twisted around the characters almost like obstacles in the sense that the characters must overcome their own inner fears and accomplish the issues and challenges that they face. In Cyrano de Bergerac a lot of the themes revolve around himself and Roxanne.

Cyrano’s deep love for Roxanne and her love for Christian is the major theme in the film, then there is Cyrano writing poetic letters to Roxanne about Christians love for her, but deep down Cyrano is actually expressing his own feelings. He feels more comfortable writing his emotions than he does expressing them in person because he is ashamed of his oversized nose. The themes help to tell the story by presenting some conflict creating entertainment making the viewer keen to see what happens next.

The Atmosphere adds to the feeling of the film, being set in a village in France with cobblestone streets and beautiful old buildings that reflect the period dress and protocol. This then creates a wonderful backdrop for love, romance, intrigue and tragedy. The setting gives the characters an area to move around in which allows them the freedom to interact with each other and successfully portrey their emotions. The setting is very realistic because it is recognized to fit the era of the film, Beautifully dressed people everyone well manicured and very proper, correct vocabulary and language.

Lighting is a big portion of the atmosphere of the film. It is mostly a more natural light provided by the sunshine coming through a high windows or the time of day in the village. This then creates different effects on the moods and emotions on the people involved. The light is separated into darkness, gloomy, light and cheery this represents change, comparison between the differences between good and evil. Lighting has a big contribution because it is like the back up of the setting helping to bring out all the life and mysteries of the characters surrounding their mood and the dialog.

Music contributes to the story of Cyrano de Bergerac because of the style of music used. It is 16th century classical, which really brings out that contemporary feel and the date of the settings. The music is usually suitable towards the themes and issues presented. All these components create the Atmosphere of Cyrano De Bergerac helping to tell the story by putting emphasis on the surroundings and mood.

The Characters of Cyrano De Bergerac help to tell the story by appearing to the audience as real. Making them feel that the film is right in front of them happening at that exact moment making it seem as if they are there and part of the story as it unravels and reveals itself. The Characters play the part of telling the story through their actions and lines. They in a way are the story because they are acting it out and performing it.

The Characters personality, characteristics and situation help the audience associate with the story and become amazed and entrapped with the occurring events. The Characters develop relationships that are new and exciting these relationships build up the story making it a complex web of conflict. The story becomes exciting to watch and helps to keep a tight grip on the audience.

All these elements are keys in telling he story. This reflects on the life, times and feelings of the era, which the film is situated, in this case the story of Cyrano de Bergerac. The audience not only sees the emotions of the characters on screen, they actually interpret and feel these emotions in their own way. Cyrano de Bergerac is a film with certain goals to achieve and complete. It has specific moments for different emotions including jealousy, when Cyrano finds out Roxanne loves Christian, despair, when Christian dies in battle leaving Roxanne depressed and deeply hurt, true love, when Cyrano rehearses his last letter to he before he dies. These sections contribute to addressing the themes, the atmosphere and the characters. Each of these points are very important because they help the viewer to understand and recognize the techniques used in the film. All of the elements put together to create the film bring the storyline together and complete the film.

Rand’s “Anthem”

Anthem, a science fiction novel, deals with a future primitive society in which the forbidden word “I”, which is punishable, has been replaced by “We”. Anthem’s theme seems to be about the meaning and glory of man’s ego.  In this novel, Rand shows that the individualism needed for building a complex technological civilization has been suppressed by collectivism.  Rand glorifies man’s individual ability to think, and appeals to emotion.  The emotion is displayed at various time throughout the story; the encounters of Equality and Liberty, on the occasion regarding the discovery of the light bulb, and during the time the two find the house in which they will live in for the remainder of their lives.

One day while Equality was tending to his job as street sweeper, he came across a beautiful young woman taking care of the fields.  Even though it is forbidden, he decides to go over and talk to her.  While they were talking, we see the first sign of emotions when “Their face did not move and they did not avert their eyes.  Only their eyes grew wider, and there was triumph in their eyes, and it was not triumph over us, but over things we could not guess.” Later, Liberty follows Equality into the forest, and the first sign of forbidden love is shown when “we bent to raise the Golden One to their feet, but when we touched them, it was as if madness had stricken us.  We seized their body and we pressed our lips to theirs.”

Equality is excited with the joy of learning when he finishes his work of building a light bulb.  “WE MADE IT. WE CREATED IT. We brought it forth from the night of the ages. We alone.  Our hands.  Our mind.  Ours alone and only. We know not what we are saying.  Our head is reeling.”  The emotion shown by Equality after having just built the light bulb is pride and happiness because he has just created some power unknown but to the people of the Unmentionable times.  After he fully realizes what he has done, he has defensive emotions and has to “guard our tunnel as we had never guarded it before.  For should any men save the Scholars learn of our secret, they would not understand it, nor would they believe us.  They would see nothing, save our crime of working alone, and they would destroy us and our light.”

The climax of the story shows the greatest emotion of all, the feeling of euphoria.  They have a feeling of well-being that overcomes them.  “I shall live here, in my own house.  I shall take my food from the earth by the toil of my own hands.  I shall learn many secrets from my books.  Through the years ahead, I shall rebuild the achievements of the past, and open the way to carry them further, the achievements which are open to me, but closed forever to my brothers, for their minds are shackled to the weakest and dullest ones among them.”  Once free from their restrictive society, they rediscover the knowledge of the Unmentionable times, they discover the self and free will.

Ayn Rand’s science fiction novella Anthem shows intense emotion.  The story takes place in a futuristic world of collectivism where the word “I” has been forgotten.  The achievements of the past have been lost until one man feels his emotions and acts upon them.  Emotions are the key to the story.

Happiness Report Essay

Happiness: In one word, this concept exemplifies the American dream. People go to any means by which to obtain the many varied materials and issues that induce pleasures in each individual, and intrinsically, this emotion remains the ultimate goal, John Stuart Mill, a nineteenth century philosopher, correctly advocated the pursuit of happiness, and maintained the concept that above all other values, pleasure existed as the final destination, Mill’s hedonistic views correctly and rationally identified a natural human tendency, and his Utilitarian arguments strongly support the theory that above all else, appiness is the most important dream to be fulfilled.

Upon researching for this paper, I came across a counter argument, which was based on metaphysics. Immanuel Kant, in Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, defends his strong beliefs in the issue of a good will, and surfaces as MM’s chief opponent on the topic of metaphysics, The issue diminishes to a clash between emotions and pleasures ve rses rationality and logic. Yet, what use is logic when the good agent is miserable? Mill’s stance within Utilitarianism exists as the more favorable of the two beliefs, for happiness exist as the one intrinsically avorable element, not an emotionless mind.

The main defender of the Utilitarian system exists within the Greatest happiness Principle. Mill lived as a chief advocate of this concept, which supports the idea that a decision is morally correct as long as it increases and encourages pleasures and happiness. Kant, however, in his endless quest to remain separate from emotions and thrive only on logic, would argue that autonomy should be placed above happiness in a list of intrinsic values. A good will, however, does not comfort an individual in any way if happiness does not ccompany this asset, Consider this example of a seemingly happily married couple.

The wife in this duo is madly in love with her husband fiercely loyal, and completely happy with her marriage and children. The husband, however, as wrongfully strayed, and had a brief, but damaging affair behind his wife’s back. Kant would argue that autonomy reigns over pleasure, and the woman should therefore want to be informed of her husband’s adultery, Mill would greatly disagree. By revealing the secret of the past affair, the woman’s happy world would be instantly shattered. Her pride would diminish, her stability would all apart, and the children especially would be forced to view a nasty side of their beloved father.

In this case, individual control is greatly overshadowed by the need for happiness. The husband is no longer acting unfaithful and the family can easily continue to live in a happy realm, If the secret were to become uncovered, all members of this circumstance unavoidably would become terribly disappointed, Under the Greatest Happiness Principle, the wife should not be informed. Since happiness truly lives as the ultimate in human desires, sparing such immense amounts of pain truly is the logical choice, Mill’s rgument prevails, and all those involved remain happy.

Through this example, one can easily see that although autonomy is often a favorable feature, it does not overshadow the importance of happiness. One of the main arguments against Utilitarianism exist in the lack of apparent fairness. An advocate of the Kantian logic principle would argue that Mill’s belief system does not allow for equal treatment, When considering what is best for an entire society, however, it is necessary for certain individuals to endure suffering.

The good of society remains the ultimate goal, and nfortunate pain is therefore inevitable, If young children are being killed in a certain community, the obvious good for this society is discovering and punishing the murderer. Especially when children are involved, people automatically demand prompt justice. The officials of this area have searched immensely for the accused, yet no leads have surfaced, and the community suddenly erupts with anger, they demand that someone be punished, As a Utilitarian, the police chief sees a window of opportunity.

A drug dealer has recently been brought in on yet another drug selling offense, and the chief ecides to coerce the invalu able member of society into confessing the crime at hand, By doing so, the community instantly reunites in support and a dangerous and deadly revolt is avoided, and a menace to society is right back where he would have been regardless of his confession: behind bars, Kant, however, would argue that logically, the chase for the true offender should continue. He would shun the emotional decision to make the whole society happy by ignoring the rational decisions.

But since the community obviously chooses happiness over logic, Kant’s arguments are irrelevant. In addition, Kant believes in a decision making process completely separate from the natural human emotions, Such a demand is possible only for a character such as Star Trek’s Dr. Spock, for human emotions are as much a part of every day life as the decision making process itself. Logically speaking, therefore, Mill’s Utilitarianism arguments maintain the largest dose of validity.

Other opponents to the philosophical viewpoint of Utilitarianism state that followers of this belief system often promote an ignorant lifestyle, They maintain that advocates of the Greatest Happiness Principle believe in the heory that “ignorance is bliss,” Again, such reasoning is quite faulty. Displaying the erroneousness of this statement can be done by examining the issue of AIDS, An opponent of Utilitarianism would say an Infected HIV victim would not want to be aware of his disorder, Such a belief is extremely incorrect.

Mill and other Utilitarian are strong advocates of education, for with intelligence, greater levels of achievement and happiness can be obtained. A member of this belief system would rightly argue that being aware of the disorder could increase long-term happiness, for treatments and support from riends and family could greatly aid the victim’s fight against his or her alhnents, Mills therefore strongly support education systems and believe in making society as a whole as happy as possible.

In the case of the AIDS victim, a Utilitarian would also support the notification of the disorder to the victim in order to spare others of contracting the virus, The happiness of the majority would not be increased by an unknowing HIV carrier spreading the disease to other defenseless individuals, Utilitarianism clearly is not a ignorant way to live, and the Kantian philosophy of ignoring the irrational system of emotions annot refute this standard. Without happiness, the other opportunities and necessities lose nearly all levels of importance.

A true Utilitarian supports only those concepts that promote the highest levels of pleasures, and as Mill states, encourages only those actions that promote real happiness, From a Kantian viewpoint, rationality and the possession of a good will remains the most important element, but even someone with the truest and most logical of intentions can easily exist in a realm of pure depression. The one link that exists between these opposite belief systems is the concept that, all decisions should be made outside of ne’s personality.

The key is that Kant said this decisions should be made without any regard for human emotions, A request of this magnitude is a part of a utopian society only, for ignoring one’s emotions is an illogical assumption in itself, If your child and wife are both dying, deciding which one to save cannot be made without some emotional influence, Utilitarianism allows for the emotional side of life but requests only that the Greatest Happiness Principle be strictly followed. Any truly decent human being naturally follows such a request every day, Decisions are made based on the greatest level of happiness,

That way, the largest majority of people benefit, and the greatest amount of happiness is achieved. Yet as Kant believed, a more morally correct decision lies at the heart of every dilemma. How does one decide who is morally more correct to save in an instance where two cherished loved ones are passing away, and only one individual may be saved? And even more importantly, how does one do so without regard emotions? I personally feel that living strictly by the doctrine of Kantian philosophy is completely impossible. Being a Utilitarian and hedonist, such as Mill, makes more sense to me.