Thursday, January 28, 2010

Joaquin Murrieta the Mexican Robin Hood

John Rollin Ridges' novel of the adventures of Joaquin Murrieta closely parallels the story of Robin Hood, for several reasons. First and foremost, the novel which John Rollin Ridge constructs is that of a fast paced action packed story. Furthermore, the character Joaquin provides us, the reader, with much of the action encountered. Similar to Robin Hood, Joaquin was not a mere Mexican Bandit riding and killing with reckless abandon, he was motivated.

Motives act as the main underlying relationship between Joaquin and Robin Hood. Let us inspect some further comparisons in regard to these two characters. Robin Hood acts to steal from the rich and give to the poor in reaction to his lands being controlled by the rich. Incidentally, Joaquin Murrieta seeks revenge upon Americans for pushing him from his land and raping his wife. During such times, Americans may be compared to the rich in Robin Hood. Thus, both Robin Hood and Joaquin face strong motivation to rebel due to personal strife accompanied with the tribulations of loved ones. Consequently, Joaquin vies to kill any American he sees.

Both Joaquin and Robin Hood may be withheld as heroes. As heroes, both characters possess a certain code of ethics. In regard to Joaquin, he always keeps his word, does not kill any who provide him with favors, and he has a rudimentary sense of justice as well. Likewise, Robin Hood uses his cunning and courage to implement his code, which closely resembles that of Joaquin. Robin Hood also keeps his word, steals from the rich to give to the poor, and adheres to justice. Moreover, both characters can justify their actions through their heroic codes of action.

Although Joaquin may kill and steal, and Robin Hood may do similar things, their actions are justifiable in that they are seeking out justice. This is a huge similarity in regard to viewing both Joaquin and Robin Hood as heroic. Furthermore, both provide reason for their actions, which further justifies their pursuits. For example, Joaquin provides reasons for his murders, the rape of his wife and loss of his land. Additionally, Robin Hood justifies his pursuits by articulating that the rich are to rich and the poor are to poor. Overall, Robin Hood and Joaquin Murrieta were truly heroic, proactive characters.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Womens' Roles in The Blithedale Romance

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance suggests certain roles which women should adhere to. More specifically, the two prominent female characters, Priscilla and Zenobia, are prime examples of ways in which women were regulated and restricted by their roles. As Zenobia and Priscilla are two very opposite characters, one may see how their actions reinforce their womanly roles. By comparing and contrasting Priscilla to Zenobia one may gain a sense of what things were expected of women and what was not in Blithedale.
“The Cult of True Womanhood,” as described by Barbara Welter, is made up of four pillars which constitute what it means to be a true woman. Piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity make up these four pillars. Thus, Priscilla and Zenobia alike are received as either fitting into these categories or not. Consequently, Zenobia does not adhere to each of these four pillars, while Priscilla may in fact be the very essence of true womanhood.
In contrast to Priscilla, Zenobia may be described as enigmatic, exotic, strongly spoken, manipulative, and beautifully dark. Priscilla, on the other hand, is a shy, ethereal, secluded seamstress who is very soft spoken. Obviously Priscilla is pious, submissive, pure, and domestic. Yet, if Priscilla fits into the categories a woman was expected to, while Zenobia is deviant, why is it that Zenobia is described as a beautiful, strong woman?
I assert that Nathaniel Hawthorne is subtly pointing out some of the flaws with the roles of women in his “Blithedale Romance.” This is to say that Hawthorne has constructed two female characters; Zenobia is on one end of the spectrum of womanhood, while Priscilla is on the other end, embodying everything a woman was expected to be. Further, I believe Hawthorne has used Zenobia’s suicide as a statement about women and their actions.
As Zenobia was out-spoken, exotic and dark, her death signifies the end of a woman who acted out against her social restraints. Contrarily, Priscilla’s intact life shows us that the woman who adheres to the pillars of womanhood lives on. Thus, the deviant character dies and her actions loose significance, while Priscilla, the model woman, lives on and carries on tradition.