Free Essays

The Crystal Shard 18. Biggrin’s House

Drizzt and Wulfgar were pleasantly surprised when they found the back entrance to the verbeeg lair. It sat high up on the steep incline on the western side of the rocky outcropping. Piles of garbage and bones lay strewn about the ground at the bottom of the rocks, and a thin but steady stream of smoke wafted out of the open cave, scented with the flavors of roasting mutton.

The two companions crouched in the brush below the entrance for a short while, noting the degree of activity. The moon had come up, bright and clear, and the night had lightened considerably. “I wonder if we’ll be in time for dinner,” remarked the drow, still smirking wryly. Wulfgar shook his head and laughed at the dark elf’s uncanny composure.

Although the two often heard sounds from the shadows just beyond the opening, pots clanging and occasional voices, no giant showed itself outside the cave until shortly before moonset. A fat verbeeg, presumably the lair’s cook from its dress, shuffled out onto the doorstep and dumped a load of garbage from a large iron pot down the slope.

“He’s mine,” said Drizzt, suddenly serious. “Can you provide a distraction?”

“The cat will do,” Wulfgar answered, though he wasn’t keen on being alone with Guenhwyvar.

Drizzt crept up the rocky slope, trying to stay in the dark shadows as he went. He knew that he would remain vulnerable in the moonlight until he got above the entrance, but the climb proved rougher than he had expected and the going was slow. When he was almost to the opening, he heard the giant chef stirring by the entrance, apparently lifting a second pot of garbage for dumping.

But the drow had nowhere to go. A call from within the cave diverted the cook’s attention. Realizing how little time he had to get to safety, Drizzt sprinted the last few feet to the door level and peered around the corner into the torchlit kitchen.

The room was roughly square with a large stone oven on the wall across from the cave entrance. Next to the oven was a wooden door slightly ajar, and behind this Drizzt heard several giant voices. The cook was nowhere in sight, but a pot of garbage sat on the floor just inside the entrance.

“He’ll be back soon,” the drow muttered to himself as he picked his handholds and crept noiselessly up the wall and above the cave entrance. At the base of the slope, a nervous Wulfgar sat absolutely motionless as Guenhwyvar stalked back and forth before him.

A few minutes later the giant chef came out with the pot. As the verbeeg dumped the garbage, Guenhwyvar moved into view. One great leap took the cat to the base of the slope. Tilting its head up at the cook, the black panther growled.

“Ah, git outa here, ye mangy puss,” snapped the giant, apparently unimpressed and unsurprised by the sudden appearance of the panther, “afore I squash yer head an’ drop ye into a stewin’ pot.”

The verbeeg’s threat was an idle one. Even as it stood shaking an oversized fist, its attention fully on the cat, the dark shape that was Drizzt Do’Urden sprang from the wall onto its back. His scimitars already in hand, the drow wasted no time in cutting an ear-to-ear smile into the giant’s throat. Without uttering a cry the verbeeg tumbled down the rocks to settle in with the rest of the garbage. Abruptly Drizzt dropped to the cave step and spun around, praying that no other giants had entered the kitchen.

He was safe for the moment. The room was empty. As Guenhwyvar and then Wulfgar crested the ledge, he signaled to them silently to follow him in. The kitchen was small (for giants) and sparsely stocked. There was one table on the right wall which held several pans. Next to it was a large chopping block with a garish cleaver, rusty and jagged and apparently unwashed for weeks, buried into it. Over to Drizzt’s left were shelves holding spices and herbs and other supplies. The drow went to investigate these as Wulfgar moved to peer into the adjoining – and occupied – room.

Also square, this second area was a bit larger than the kitchen. A long table divided the room in half, and beyond it, directly across from where he stood, Wulfgar saw a second door. Three giants sat at the side of the table closest to Wulfgar, a fourth stood between them and the door, and two more sat on the opposite side. The group feasted on mutton and slurped thick stew, all the while cursing and taunting each other – a typical dinner gathering of verbeeg. Wulfgar noted with more than a passing interest that the monsters tore the meat from the bones with their bare hands. There weren’t any weapons in the room.

Drizzt, holding a bag he had found on the shelves, drew one of his scimitars again and moved with Guenhwyvar to join Wulfgar. “Six,” Wulfgar whispered, pointing to the room. The big barbarian hoisted Aegis-fang and nodded eagerly. Drizzt peeked through the door and quickly formulated an attack plan.

He pointed to Wulfgar, then to the door. “Right,” he whispered. Then he indicated himself. “Behind you, left.”

Wulfgar understood him perfectly, but wondered why he hadn’t included Guenhwyvar. The barbarian pointed to the cat.

Drizzt merely shrugged and smiled, and Wulfgar understood. Even the skeptical barbarian was confident that Guenhwyvar would figure out where it best fit in.

Wulfgar shook the nervous tingles out of his muscles and clenched Aegis-fang tightly. With a quick wink to his companion, he burst through the door and pounced at the nearest target. The giant, the only one of the group standing at the time, managed to turn and face his attacker, but that was all. Aegis-fang swung in a low sweep and rose with deadly accuracy, smashing into its belly. Driving upward, it crushed the giant’s lower chest. With his incredible strength, Wulfgar actually lifted the huge monster several feet off of the ground. It fell, broken and breathless, beside the barbarian, but he paid it no more heed; he was already planning his second strike.

Drizzt, Guenhwyvar close on his heels, rushed past his friend toward the two stunned giants seated farthest to the left at the table. He jerked open the bag he held and twirled as he reached his targets, blinding them in a puff of flour. The drow never slowed as he passed, gouging his scimitar into the throat of one of the powdered verbeeg and then rolling backward over the top of the wooden table. Guenhwyvar sprang on the other giant, his powerful jaws tearing out the monster’s groin.

The two verbeeg on the far side of the table were the first of their group to truly react. One leaped to stand ready to meet Drizzt’s whirling charge, while the second, unwittingly singling itself out as Wulfgar’s next target, bolted for the back door.

Wulfgar marked the escaping giant quickly and launched Aegis-fang without hesitation. If Drizzt, at that time in midroll across the table, had realized just how close his form had come to intercepting the twirling war-hammer, he might have had a few choice words for his friend. But the hammer found its mark, bashing into the verbeeg’s shoulder and knocking the monster into the wall with enough force to break its neck.

The giant Drizzt had gored lay squirming on the floor, clutching its throat in a futile attempt to quell the flow of its lifeblood. And Guenhwyvar was having little trouble dispatching the other. Only two verbeeg remained to fight.

Drizzt finished his roll and landed on his feet on the far side of the table, nimbly dodging the grasp of the waiting verbeeg. He darted around, putting himself between his opponent and the door. The giant, its huge hands outstretched, spun around and charged. But the drow’s second scimitar was out with the first, interweaving in a mesmerizing dance of death. As each blade flashed out, it sent another of the giant’s gnarled fingers spinning to the floor. Soon the verbeeg had nothing more than two bloodied stumps where its hands had once been. Enraged beyond sanity, it swung its clublike arms wildly. Drizzt’s scimitar quickly slipped under the side of its skull, ending the creature’s madness.

Meanwhile, the last giant had rushed the unarmed barbarian. It wrapped its huge arms around Wulfgar and lifted him into the air, trying to squeeze the life out of him. Wulfgar tightened his muscles in a desperate attempt to prevent his larger foe from snapping the bones in his back.

The barbarian had trouble finding his breath. Enraged he slammed his fist into the giant’s chin and raised his hand for a second blow.

But then, following the dweomer that Bruenor had cast upon it, the magical war hammer was back in his grasp. With a howl of glee, Wulfgar drove home the butt end of Aegis-fang and put out the giant’s eye. The giant loosened its grip, reeling backward in agony. The world had become such a blur of pain to the monster that it didn’t even see Aegis-fang arcing over Wulfgar’s head and speeding toward its skull. It felt a hot explosion as the heavy hammer split open its head, bouncing the lifeless body into the table and knocking stew and mutton all over the floor.

“Don’t spill the food!” cried Drizzt in mock anger as he rushed to retrieve a particularly juicy-looking chop.

Suddenly they heard heavy-booted footsteps and shouts coming down the corridor behind the second door. “Back outside!” yelled Wulfgar as he turned toward the kitchen.

“Hold!” shouted Drizzt. “The fun is just beginning!” He pointed to a dim, torchlit tunnel that ran off the left wall of the room. “Down there! Quickly!”

Wulfgar knew that they were pushing their luck, but once again he found himself listening to the elf.

And once again the barbarian was smiling.

Wulfgar passed the heavy wooden supports at the beginning of the tunnel and raced off into the dimness. He had gone about thirty feet, Guenhwyvar loping uncomfortably close at his side, when he realized that Drizzt wasn’t following. He turned around just in time to see the drow stroll casually out of the room and past the wooden beams. Drizzt had sheathed his scimitars. Instead, he held a long dagger, its wicked tip planted firmly into a piece of mutton.

“The giants?” asked Wulfgar from the darkness.

Drizzt stepped to the side, behind one of the massive wooden beams. “Right behind me,” he explained calmly as he tore another bite off of his meal. Wulfgar’s jaw dropped open when a pack of frothing verbeeg charged into the tunnel, never noticing the concealed drow.

“Prayne de crabug ohm keike rinedere be-yogi iglo kes gron!” Wulfgar shouted as he spun on his heel and sprinted off down the corridor, hoping that it didn’t lead to a dead end.

Drizzt pulled the mutton off the end of his blade and accidentally dropped it to the ground, cursing silently at the waste of good food. Licking the dagger clean, he waited patiently. As the last verbeeg rambled past, he darted from his concealment, whipped the dagger into the back of the trailing giant’s knee, and scooted around the other side of the beam. The wounded giant howled in pain, but by the time it or its companions had turned back around, the drow was nowhere to be seen.

Wulfgar rounded a bend and slipped against the wall, easily guessing what had stopped the pursuit. The pack had turned back when they found that there was another intruder nearer the exit.

A giant leaped through the supports and stood with its legs wide apart and its club ready, its eyes going from door to door as it tried to figure out which route the unseen assailant had taken. Behind it and off to the side, Drizzt pulled a small knife out of each of his boots and wondered how the giants could be stupid enough to fall for the same trick twice in a span of ten seconds. Not about to argue with good fortune, the elf scrambled out behind his next victim and, before its companions still in the tunnel could shout a call of warning, drove one of the knives deep into the giant’s thigh, severing the hamstring. The giant lurched over to the side and Drizzt, hopping by, marveled at how wonderful a target the thick veins in a verbeeg’s neck make when the monster’s jaw is clenched in pain.

But the drow had no time to pause and ponder the fortunes of battle. The rest of the pack – five angry giants – had already thrown aside their wounded companion in the tunnel and were only a few strides behind. He put the second knife deep into the verbeeg’s neck and headed for the door leading deeper into the lair. He would have made it, except that the first giant coming back into the room happened to be carrying a stone. As a rule, verbeeg are quite adept at rock throwing, and this one was better than most. The drow’s unhelmeted head was its target, and its throw was true.

Wulfgar’s throw was on target, too. Aegis-fang shattered the backbone of the trailing giant as it passed its wounded companion in the tunnel. The injured verbeeg, working to get Drizzt’s dagger out of its knee, stared in disbelief at its suddenly dead companion and at the berserk death charge of the ferocious barbarian.

Out of the corner of his eye, Drizzt saw the stone coming. He managed to duck enough to avoid getting his head caved in, but the heavy missile caught him in the shoulder and sent him flying to the floor. The world spun around him as though he was its axis. He fought to reorient himself, for in the back of his mind he understood that the giant was coming to finish him off. But everything seemed a blur. Then something lying close to his face managed to hold his attention. He fixed his eyes on it, straining to find a focus and force everything else to stop spinning.

A verbeeg finger.

The drow was back. Quickly, he reached for his weapon.

He knew that he was too late when he saw the giant, club raised for a death blow, towering above him.

The wounded giant stepped into the middle of the tunnel to meet the barbarian’s charge. The monster’s leg had gone numb, and it could not plant its feet firmly. Wulfgar, Aegis-fang comfortably back in his hands, swatted it aside and continued into the room. Two of the giants were waiting for him.

Guenhwyvar wove between a giant’s legs as it turned and launched itself as high and far as its sleek muscles could take it. Just as the verbeeg standing over Drizzt started to swing its club at the prone elf, Drizzt saw a shade of black cross in front of its face. A jagged tear lined the giant’s cheek. Drizzt understood what had happened when he heard Guenhwyvar’s padded paws set down on the table and propel the cat further across the room. Though a second giant now joined the first and both had their clubs poised to strike, Drizzt had gained all the time that he needed. In a lightning movement, he slid one of the scimitars from its sheath and thrust it into the first giant’s groin. The monster doubled over in agony, a shield for Drizzt, and caught the blow from its comrade on the back of its head. The drow mumbled “Thank you” as he rolled over the corpse, landing on his feet and again thrusting upward, this time lifting his body to follow the blade.

Hesitation had cost another giant its life. For as the stunned verbeeg stared dumbfoundedly at its friend’s brains splattered all over its club, the drow’s curved blade sliced under its rib cage, tearing through lungs and finding its mark in the monster’s heart.

Time moved slowly for the mortally wounded giant. The club it had dropped seemed to take minutes to reach the floor. With the barely perceptible motion of a falling tree, the verbeeg slid back from the scimitar. It knew that it was falling, but the floor never came up to meet it. Never came up…

Wulfgar hoped that he had hit the wounded giant in the tunnel hard enough to keep it out of the fray for a while – he would be in a tight spot indeed if it came up behind him then. He had all that he could handle parrying and counter-thrusting with the two giants he now faced. He needn’t have worried about his backside, though, for the wounded verbeeg slumped against the wall in the tunnel, oblivious to its surroundings. And, in the opposite direction, Drizzt had just finished off the other two giants. Wulfgar laughed aloud when he saw his friend wiping the blood from his blade and walking back across the room. One of the verbeeg noticed the dark elf, too, and it jumped out of its fight with the barbarian to engage this new foe.

“Ay, ye little runt, ye think ye can face me even up an’ live to talk about it?” bellowed the giant.

Feigning desperation, Drizzt glanced all about him. As usual, he found an easy way to win this fight. Using a stalking belly-crawl, Guenhwyvar had slithered behind the giant bodies, trying to get into a favorable position. Drizzt took a small step backward, goading the giant into the great cat’s path.

The giant’s club crashed into Wulfgar’s ribs and pushed him up against the wooden beam. The barbarian was made of tougher stuff than wood, though, and he took the blow stoically, returning it two-fold with Aegis-fang. Again the verbeeg struck, and again Wulfgar countered. The barbarian had been fighting with hardly a break for over ten minutes, but adrenalin coursed through his veins, and he barely felt winded. He began to appreciate the endless hours toiling for Bruenor in the mines, and the miles and miles of running Drizzt had led him through during their sessions as his blows started to fall with increasing frequency on his tiring opponent.

The giant advanced on Drizzt. “Arg, hold yer ground, ye miserable rat!” it growled. “An’ none o’ yer sneaky tricks! We wants to see how ye does in a fair fight.”

Just as the two came together, Guenhwyvar darted the remaining few feet and sank his fangs deep into the back of the verbeeg’s ankle. Reflexively, the giant shot a glance at the rear attacker, but it recovered quickly and shot its eyes back to the elf…

…Just in time to see the scimitar entering its chest.

Drizzt answered the monster’s puzzled expression with a question. “Where in the nine hells did you ever find the notion that I would fight fair?”

The verbeeg lurched away. The blade hadn’t found its heart, but it knew that the wound would soon prove fatal if untended. Blood poured freely down the monster’s leather tunic, and it labored visibly as it tried to breath. Drizzt alternated his attacks with Guenhwyvar, striking and ducking away from the lumbering counter while his partner rushed in on the monster’s other side. They knew, and the giant did, too, that this fight would soon be over.

The giant fighting Wulfgar could no longer sustain a defensive posture with its heavy club. Wulfgar was beginning to tire as well, so he started to sing an old tundra war song, the Song of Tempos, its rousing notes inspiring him into one final barrage. He waited for the verbeeg’s club to inch inevitably downward and then launched Aegis-fang once, twice, and then a third time. Wulfgar nearly collapsed in exhaustion after the third swing, but the giant lay crumpled on the floor. The barbarian leaned wearily on his weapon and watched his two friends nip and scratch their verbeeg to pieces.

“Well done!” Wulfgar laughed when the last giant fell.

Drizzt walked over to the barbarian, his left arm hanging limply at his side. His jacket and shirt were torn where the stone had struck, and the exposed skin of his shoulder was swollen and bruised.

Wulfgar eyed the wound with genuine concern, but Drizzt answered his unspoken question by raising the arm above him, though he grimaced in pain with the effort. “It’ll be quick to mend,” he assured Wulfgar. “Just a nasty bump, and I find that a small cost to weigh against the bodies of thirteen verbeeg!”

A low groan issued from the tunnel.

“Twelve as yet,” Wulfgar corrected. “Apparently one is not quite done kicking.” With a deep breath, Wulfgar lifted Aegis-fang and turned to finish the task.

“A moment, first,” insisted Drizzt, a thought pressing on his mind. “When the giants charged you in the tunnel, you yelled something in your home tongue, I believe. What was it you said?”

Wulfgar laughed heartily. “An old Elk tribe battle cry,” he explained. “Strength to my friends, and death to my foes!”

Drizzt eyed the barbarian suspiciously and wondered just how deep ran Wulfgar’s ability to fabricate a lie on demand.

* * *

The injured verbeeg was still propped against the tunnel wall when the two companions and Guenhwyvar came upon it. The drow’s dagger remained deeply buried in the giant’s knee, its blade caught fast between two bones. The giant eyed the men with hate-filled yet strangely calm eyes as they approached.

“Ye’ll pay fer all o’ this,” it spat at Drizzt. “Biggrin’ll play with ye afore killin’ ye, be sure o’ that!”

“So it has a tongue,” Drizzt said to Wulfgar. And then to the giant, “Biggrin?”

“Laird o’ the cave,” answered the giant. “Biggrin’ll be a wantin’ to meet ye.”

“And we’ll be wanting to meet Biggrin!” stormed Wulfgar. “We have a debt to repay; a little matter concerning two dwarves!” As soon as Wulfgar mentioned the dwarves, the giant spat again. Drizzt’s scimitar flashed and poised an inch from the monster’s throat.

“Kill me then an’ have done,” laughed the giant, genuinely uncaring. The monster’s ease unnerved Drizzt. “I serve the master!” proclaimed the giant. “Glory is to die for Akar Kessell!”

Wulfgar and Drizzt looked at each other uneasily. They had never seen or heard of this kind of fanatical dedication in a verbeeg, and the sight disturbed them. The primary fault of the verbeeg which had always kept then from gaining dominance over the smaller races was their unwillingness to devote themselves wholeheartedly to any cause and their inability to follow one leader:

“Who is Akar Kessell?” demanded Wulfgar.

The giant laughed evilly. “If friends o’ the towns ye be, ye’ll know soon enough!”

“I thought you said that Biggrin was laird of this cave,” said Drizzt.

“The cave,” answered the giant. “And once a tribe. But Biggrin follows the master now.”

“We’ve got trouble,” Drizzt mumbled to Wulfgar. “Have you ever heard of a verbeeg chieftain giving up its dominance to another without a fight?”

“I fear for the dwarves,” said Wulfgar.

Drizzt turned back to the giant and decided to change the subject so that he could extract some information more immediate to their situation. “What is at the end of this tunnel?”

“Nothin’,” said the verbeeg, too quickly. “Er, just a place for us t’ sleep, is all.”

Loyal, but stupid, noted Drizzt. He turned to Wulfgar again. “We have to take out Biggrin and any others in the cave who might be able to get back to warn this Akar Kessell.”

“What about this one?” asked Wulfgar. But the giant answered the question for Drizzt. Delusions of glory pushed it to seek death in the wizard’s service. It tightened its muscles, ignoring the pain in its knee, and lunged at the companions.

Aegis-fang smashed the verbeeg’s collarbone and neck at the same time Drizzt’s scimitar was slipping through its ribs and Guenhwyvar was locking onto its gut.

But the giant’s death mask was a smile.

* * *

The corridor behind the back door of the dining room was unlit, and the companions had to pull a torch from its sconce in the other corridor to take with them. As they wound their way down the long tunnel, moving deeper and deeper into the hill, they passed many small chambers, most empty, but some holding crated stores of various sorts: foodstuffs, skins, and extra clubs and spears. Drizzt surmised that Akar Kessell planned to use this cave as a home base for his army.

The blackness was absolute for some distance and Wulfgar, lacking the darkness vision of his elven companion, grew nervous as the torch began to burn low. But then they came into a wide chamber, by far the largest they had seen, and beyond its reaches, the tunnel spilled out into the open night.

“We have come to the front door,” said Wulfgar. “And it’s ajar. Do you believe that Biggrin has left?”

“Sssh,” hushed Drizzt. The drow thought that he had heard something in the darkness on the far right. He motioned for Wulfgar to stay in the middle of the room with the torch as he crept away into the shadows.

Drizzt stopped short when he heard gruff giant voices ahead, though he couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t see their bulky silhouettes. When he came upon a large hearth, he understood. The voices were echoing through the chimney.

“Biggrin?” asked Wulfgar when he came up.

“Must be,” reasoned Drizzt. “Think you can fit through the chimney?”

The barbarian nodded. He hoisted Drizzt up first – the drow’s left arm still wasn’t of much use to him – and followed, leaving Guenhwyvar to keep watch.

The chimney snaked up a few yards, then came to an intersection. One way led down to a room from which the voices were coming, and the other thinned as it rose to the surface. The conversation was loud and heated now, and Drizzt moved down to investigate. Wulfgar held the drow’s feet to help him inch down the final descent, as the slope became nearly vertical. Hanging upside down, Drizzt peeked under the rim of the hearth in another room. He saw three giants; one by a door at the far end of the room, looking as though it wanted to leave, and a second with its back to the hearth, being scolded by the third, an immensely wide and tall frost giant. Drizzt knew by the twisted, lipless smile that he looked upon Biggrin.

“To tell Biggrin!” pleaded the smaller giant.

“Ye ran from a fight,” scowled Biggrin. “Ye left yer friends t’ die!”

“No…” protested the giant, but Biggrin had heard enough. With one swipe of its huge axe, it lopped the smaller giant’s head off.

* * *

The men found Guenhwyvar diligently on watch when they came out of the chimney. The big cat turned and growled in recognition when it saw its companions, and Wulfgar, not understanding the throaty purr to be a friendly sound, took a cautious step away.

“There has to be a side tunnel off the main corridor further down,” Drizzt reasoned, having no time to be amused by his friend’s nervousness.

“Let’s get this over with, then,” said Wulfgar.

They found the passage as the Drow had predicted and soon came to a door they figured would lead to the room with the remaining giants. They clapped each other on the shoulder for luck and Drizzt patted Guenhwyvar, though Wulfgar declined the drow’s invitation to do likewise. Then they burst in.

The room was empty. A door previously invisible to Drizzt from his vantage point at the hearth stood ajar.

* * *

Biggrin sent its lone remaining soldier out the secret side door with a message for Akar Kessell. The big giant had been disgraced, and it knew that the wizard wouldn’t readily accept the loss of so many valuable troops. Biggrin’s only chance was to take care of the two intruding warriors and hope that their heads would appease its unmerciful boss. The giant pressed its ear to the door and waited for its victims to enter the adjoining room.

* * *

Wulfgar and Drizzt passed through the second door and came into a lavish chamber, its floor adorned with plush furs and large, puffy pillows. Two other doors led out of the room. One was slightly open, a darkened corridor beyond, and the other was closed.

Suddenly Wulfgar stopped Drizzt with an outstretched hand and motioned for the drow to be quiet. The intangible quality of a true warrior, the sixth sense that allows him to sense unseen danger, had come into play. Slowly the barbarian turned to the closed door and lifted Aegis-fang above his head. He paused for a moment and cocked his head, straining to hear a confirming sound. None came, but Wulfgar trusted his instincts. He roared to Tempos and launched the hammer. It split the door asunder with a thunderous snap and dropped the planks – and Biggrin – to the floor.

Drizzt noticed the swing of the open secret door across the room beyond the giant chieftain and realized that the last of the giants must have slipped away. Quickly the drow set Guenhwyvar into motion. The panther understood, too, for it bolted away, clearing the writhing form of Biggrin with one great bound, and charged out of the cave to give chase to the escaping verbeeg.

Blood streamed down the side of the big giant’s head, but the thick bone of its skull had rejected the hammer. Drizzt and Wulfgar looked on in disbelief as the huge frost giant shook its jowls and rose to meet them.

“It can’t do that,” protested Wulfgar.

“This giant’s a stubborn one,” Drizzt shrugged.

The barbarian waited for Aegis-fang to return to his grasp, then moved with the drow to face Biggrin.

The giant stayed in the doorway to prevent either of its foes from flanking it as Wulfgar and Drizzt confidently moved in. The three exchanged ominous stares and a few easy swings as they felt each other out.

“You must be Biggrin,” Drizzt said, bowing.

“That I am,” proclaimed the giant. “Biggrin! The last foe yer eyes’ll see!”

“Confident as well as stubborn,” Wulfgar remarked.

“Little human,” the giant retorted, “I’ve squashed a hunnerd o’ yen puny kin!”

“More reason for us to kill you,” Drizzt stated calmly.

With sudden speed and ferocity that surprised its two opponents, Biggrin took a wide sweep with its huge axe. Wulfgar stepped back out of its deadly range, and Drizzt managed to duck under the blow, but the drow shuddered when he saw the axe blade take a fair-sized chunk out of the stone wall.

Wulfgar jumped right back at the monster as the axe passed him, pounding on Biggrin’s broad chest with Aegis-fang. The giant flinched but took the blow. “Ye’ll have t’ hit me harder ‘an that, puny man!” it bellowed as it launched a mighty backswing with the flat head of the axe.

Again Drizzt slipped below the swing. Wulfgar, however, battle-weary as he was, did not move quickly enough to back out of range. The barbarian managed to get Aegis-fang up in front of him, but the sheer force of Biggrin’s heavy weapon smashed him into the wall. He crumpled to the floor.

Drizzt knew that they were in trouble. His left arm remained useless, his reflexes were slowing with exhaustion, and this giant was simply too powerful for him to parry any blows. He managed to slip in one short thrust with his scimitar as the giant recovered for its next swing, and then he fled toward the main corridor.

“Run, ye dark dog!” roared the giant. “I’ll after ye, an’ I’ll have ye!” Biggrin charged after Drizzt, smelling the kill.

The drow sheathed his scimitar as he reached the main passage and looked for a spot to ambush the monster. Nothing presented itself, so he went halfway to the exit and waited.

“Where can ye hide?” Biggrin taunted as its huge bulk entered the corridor. Poised in the shadows, the drow threw his two knives. Both hit home, but Biggrin hardly slowed.

Drizzt moved outside the cave. He knew that if Biggrin didn’t follow him, he would have to go back in; he certainly couldn’t leave Wulfgar to die. The first rays of dawn had found their way onto the mountain, and Drizzt worried that the growing light would spoil any chance he had for ambush. Scrambling up one of the small trees that concealed the exit, he pulled out his dagger.

Biggrin charged out into the sunlight and looked around for signs of the fleeing drow. “Yer about, ye miserable dog! Ye’ve no place to run!”

Suddenly Drizzt was on top of the monster, gouging its face and neck in a barrage of stabs and slices. The giant howled in rage and jerked its massive body backward violently, sending Drizzt, who could not gain a firm hold with his weakened arm, flying back into the tunnel. The drow landed heavily on his injured shoulder and nearly swooned in agony. He squirmed and twisted for a moment, trying to regain his feet, but he bumped into a heavy boot. He knew that Biggrin couldn’t have gotten to him so quickly. He turned slowly onto his back, wondering where this new giant had come from.

But the drow’s outlook changed dramatically when he saw that Wulfgar stood over him, Aegis-fang firmly in his hand and a grim look stamped upon his face. Wulfgar never took his eyes off of the giant as it entered the tunnel.

“He’s mine,” the barbarian said grimly.

Biggrin looked hideous indeed. The side of its head where the hammer had struck was caked with dark, dried blood, while the other, and several spots on its face and neck, ran bright with blood from new wounds. The two knives Drizzt had thrown were still sticking in the giant’s chest like morbid medals of honor.

“Can you take it again?” Wulfgar challenged as he sent Aegis-fang on a second flight toward the giant.

In answer, Biggrin stuck out his chest defiantly to block the blow. “I can take whatere’ ye have t’ give!” it boasted.

Aegis-fang slammed home, and Biggrin staggered back a step. The hammer had cracked a rib or two, but the giant could handle that.

More deadly, though, and unknown to Biggrin, Aegis-fang had driven one of Drizzt’s knives through the lining of its heart.

“I can run, now,” Drizzt whispered to Wulfgar when he saw the giant advancing again.

“I stay,” the barbarian insisted without the slightest tremor of fear in his voice.

Drizzt pulled his scimitar. “Well spoken, brave friend. Let us fell this foul beast – there’s food to be eaten!”

“Ye’ll find that more a task than ye talk!” Biggrin retorted. It felt a sudden stinging in its chest, but it grunted away the pain. “I’ve felt the best that ye can hit, an’ still I come at ye! Ye can no’ hope t’ win!”

Both Drizzt and Wulfgar feared that there was more truth to the giant’s boasts than either of them would admit. They were on their last legs, wounded and winded, yet determined to stay and finish the task.

But the complete confidence of the great giant as it steadily approached was more than a little unnerving.

Biggrin realized that something was terribly wrong when it got within a few steps of the two companions. Wulfgar and Drizzt knew, too, for the giant’s stride suddenly slowed visibly.

The giant looked at them in outrage as though it had been deceived. “Dogs!” it gasped, a gout of blood bursting from its mouth. “What trick…”

Biggrin fell dead without another word.

* * *

“Should we go after the cat?” Wulfgar asked when they got back to the secret door.

Drizzt was wrapping a torch out of some rags he had found. “Faith in the shadow,” he answered. “Guenhwyvar will not let the verbeeg escape. Besides, I have a good meal waiting for me back in the cave.”

“You go,” Wulfgar told him. “I shall stay here and watch for the cat’s return.”

Drizzt clasped the big man’s shoulder as he started to leave. They had been through a lot in the short time they had been together, and Drizzt suspected that the excitement was just beginning. The drow sang a feasting song as he started to the main passage, but only as a dodge to Wulfgar, for the dinner table wouldn’t be his first stop. The giant they had spoken with earlier had been evasive when asked about what lay down the one tunnel they had yet to explore. And with everything else they had found, Drizzt believed that could only mean one thing – treasure.

* * *

The great panther loped along over the broken stones, easily gaining on the heavy-footed giant. Soon Guenhwyvar could hear the verbeeg’s labored breathing as the creature struggled with every leap and climb. The giant was making for Daledrop and the open tundra beyond. But so frenzied was its flight that it didn’t move off the face of Kelvin’s Cairn to the easier ground of the valley. It sought a straighter route, believing it to be the quicker path to safety.

Guenhwyvar knew the areas of the mountain as well as its master, knew where every creature on the mountain laired. The cat had already discerned where it wanted the giant to go. Like a shepherd’s dog, it closed the remaining distance and scratched at the giant’s flanks, veering it into the direction of a deep mountain pool. The terrified verbeeg, certain that the deadly warhammer or darting scimitar weren’t far behind, didn’t dare stop and engage the panther. It surged blindly along the path Guenhwyvar had chosen.

A short time later, Guenhwyvar broke away from the giant and raced ahead. When the cat reached the edge of the cold water, it tilted its head and concentrated its keen senses, hoping to spy something that could help it complete the task. Then Guenhwyvar noticed a tiny shimmer of movement under the sparkles of the first light on the water. Its sharp eyes sorted out the long shape lying deathly still. Satisfied that the trap was set, Guenhwyvar moved back behind a nearby ledge to wait.

The giant lumbered up to the pool, breathing heavily. It leaned against a boulder for a moment, despite its terror. Things seemed safe enough for the moment. As soon as it had caught its breath, the giant looked around quickly for signs of pursuit, then started forward again.

There was only one path across the pool, a fallen log that spanned the center, and all of the alternative routes around the pool, though the water wasn’t very wide, weaved around sheer drops and jutting rockfaces and promised to be slow going.

The verbeeg tested the log. It seemed sturdy, so the monster cautiously started across. The cat waited for the giant to get close to the center of the pool, then charged from its hiding place and launched itself into the air at the verbeeg. The cat landed heavily into the surprised giant, planting its paws in the monster’s chest and rebounding back toward the safety of the shore. Guenhwyvar splashed into the icy pool, but scrambled quickly out of the perilous water. The giant, though, swung its arms wildly for a moment, trying to hold its precarious balance, then toppled in with a splash. The water rushed up to suck it down. Desperately, the giant lunged for a nearby floating log, the shape that Guenhwyvar had recognized earlier.

But as the verbeeg’s hands came down, the form it had thought to be a log exploded into movement as the fifty-foot water constrictor threw itself around its prey with dizzying speed. The unrelenting coils quickly pinned the giant’s arms to its side and began their merciless squeeze.

Guenhwyvar shook the freezing water from its glistening black coat and looked back to the pool. As yet another length of the monstrous snake locked under the verbeeg’s chin and pulled the helpless monster under the surface, the panther was satisfied that the mission was complete. With a long, loud roar proclaiming victory, Guenhwyvar bounded off toward the lair.

Free Essays

Chapter 21 The House-elf Liberation Front

Harry, Ron, and Hermione went up to the Owlery that evening to find Pigwidgeon, so that Harry could send Sirius a letter telling him that he had managed to get past his dragon unscathed. On the way, Harry filled Ron in on everything Sirius had told him about Karkaroff. Though shocked at first to hear that Karkaroff had been a Death Eater, by the time they entered the Owlery Ron was saying that they ought to have suspected it all along.

“Fits, doesn’t it?” he said. “Remember what Malfoy said on the train, about his dad being friends with Karkaroff? Now we know where they knew each other. They were probably running around in masks together at the World Cup….I’ll tell you one thing, though, Harry, if it was Karkaroff who put your name in the goblet, he’s going to be feeling really stupid now, isn’t he? Didn’t work, did it? You only got a scratch! Come here – I’ll do it -“

Pigwidgeon was so overexcited at the idea of a delivery he was flying around and around Harry’s head, hooting incessantly. Ron snatched Pigwidgeon out of the air and held him still while Harry attached the letter to his leg.

There’s no way any of the other tasks are going to be that dangerous, how could they be?” Ron went on as he carried Pigwidgeon to the window. “You know what? I reckon you could win this tournament, Harry, I’m serious.”

Harry knew that Ron was only saying this to make up for his behavior of the last few weeks, but he appreciated it all the same. Hermione, however, leaned against the Owlery wall, folded her arms, and frowned at Ron.

“Harry’s got a long way to go before he finishes this tournament,” she said seriously. “If that was the first task, I hate to think what’s coming next.”

“Right little ray of sunshine, aren’t you?” said Ron. “You and Professor Trelawney should get together sometime.”

He threw Pigwidgeon out of the window. Pigwidgeon plummeted twelve feet before managing to pull himself back up again; the letter attached to his leg was much longer and heavier than usual – Harry hadn’t been able to resist giving Sirius a blow-by-blow account of exactly how he had swerved, circled, and dodged the Horntail. They watched Pigwidgeon disappear into the darkness, and then Ron said, “Well, we’d better get downstairs for your surprise party, Harry – Fred and George should have nicked enough food from the kitchens by now.”

Sure enough, when they entered the Gryffindor common room it exploded with cheers and yells again. There were mountains of cakes and flagons of pumpkin juice and butterbeer on every surface; Lee Jordan had let off some Filibuster’s Fireworks, so that the air was thick with stars and sparks; and Dean Thomas, who was very good at drawing, had put up some impressive new banners, most of which depicted Harry zooming around the Horntail’s head on his Firebolt, though a couple showed Cedric with his head on fire.

Harry helped himself to food; he had almost forgotten what it was like to feel properly hungry, and sat down with Ron and Hermione. He couldn’t believe how happy he felt; he had Ron back on his side, he’d gotten through the first task, and he wouldn’t have to face the second one for three months.

“Blimey, this is heavy,” said Lee Jordan, picking up the golden egg, which Harry had left on a table, and weighing it in his hands. “Open it, Harry, go on! Let’s just see what’s inside it!”

“He’s supposed to work out the clue on his own,” Hermione said swiftly. “It’s in the tournament rules….”

“I was supposed to work out how to get past the dragon on my own too,” Harry muttered, so only Hermione could hear him, and she grinned rather guiltily.

“Yeah, go on, Harry, open it!” several people echoed.

Lee passed Harry the egg, and Harry dug his fingernails into the groove that ran all the way around it and prised it open.

It was hollow and completely empty – but the moment Harry opened it, the most horrible noise, a loud and screechy wailing, filled the room. The nearest thing to it Harry had ever heard was the ghost orchestra at Nearly Headless Nick’s deathday party, who had all been playing the musical saw.

“Shut it!” Fred bellowed, his hands over his ears.

“What was that?” said Seamus Finnigan, staring at the egg as Harry slammed it shut again. “Sounded like a banshee…Maybe you’ve got to get past one of those next, Harry!”

“It was someone being tortured!” said Neville, who had gone very white and spilled sausage rolls all over the floor. “You’re going to have to fight the Cruciatus Curse!”

“Don’t be a prat, Neville, that’s illegal,” said George. “They wouldn’t use the Cruciatus Curse on the champions. I thought it sounded a bit like Percy singing…maybe you’ve got to attack him while he’s in the shower. Harry.”

“Want a jam tart, Hermione?” said Fred.

Hermione looked doubtfully at the plate he was offering her. Fred grinned.

“It’s all right,” he said. “I haven’t done anything to them. It’s the custard creams you’ve got to watch -“

Neville, who had just bitten into a custard cream, choked and spat it out. Fred laughed.

“Just my little joke, Neville….”

Hermione took a jam tart. Then she said, “Did you get all this from the kitchens, Fred?”

“Yep,” said Fred, grinning at her. He put on a high-pitched squeak and imitated a house-elf. “‘anything we can get you, sir, anything at all!’ They’re dead helpful…get me a roast ox if I said I was peckish.”

“How do you get in there?” Hermione said in an innocently casual sort of voice.

“Easy,” said Fred, “concealed door behind a painting of a bowl of fruit. Just tickle the pear, and it giggles and -” He stopped and looked suspiciously at her. “Why?”

“Nothing,” said Hermione quickly.

“Going to try and lead the house-elves out on strike now, are you?” said George. “Going to give up all the leaflet stuff and try and stir them up into rebellion?”

Several people chortled. Hermione didn’t answer.

“Don’t you go upsetting them and telling them they’ve got to take clothes and salaries!” said Fred warningly. “You’ll put them off their cooking!”

Just then, Neville caused a slight diversion by turning into a large canary.

“Oh – sorry, Neville!” Fred shouted over all the laughter. “I forgot – it was the custard creams we hexed -“

Within a minute, however, Neville had molted, and once his feathers had fallen off, he reappeared looking entirely normal. He even joined in laughing.

“Canary Creams!” Fred shouted to the excitable crowd. “George and I invented them – seven Sickles each, a bargain!”

It was nearly one in the morning when Harry finally went up to the dormitory with Ron, Neville, Seamus, and Dean. Before he pulled the curtains of his four-poster shut. Harry set his tiny model of the Hungarian Horntail on the table next to his bed, where it yawned, curled up, and closed its eyes. Really, Harry thought, as he pulled the hangings on his four-poster closed, Hagrid had a point…they were all right, really, dragons….

The start of December brought wind and sleet to Hogwarts. Drafty though the castle always was in winter. Harry was glad of its fires and thick walls every time he passed the Durmstrang ship on the lake, which was pitching in the high winds, its black sails billowing against the dark skies. He thought the Beauxbatons caravan was likely to be pretty chilly too. Hagrid, he noticed, was keeping Madame Maxime’s horses well provided with their preferred drink of single-malt whiskey; the fumes wafting from the trough in the comer of their paddock was enough to make the entire Care of Magical Creatures class light-headed. This was unhelpful, as they were still tending the horrible skrewts and needed their wits about them.

“I’m not sure whether they hibernate or not,” Hagrid told the shivering class in the windy pumpkin patch next lesson. “Thought we’d jus’ try an see if they fancied a kip…we’ll jus’ settle ’em down in these boxes….”

There were now only ten skrewts left; apparently their desire to kill one another had not been exercised out of them. Each of them was now approaching six feet in length. Their thick gray armor; their powerful, scuttling legs; their fire-blasting ends; their stings and their suckers, combined to make the skrewts the most repulsive things Harry had ever seen. The class looked dispiritedly at the enormous boxes Hagrid had brought out, all lined with pillows and fluffy blankets.

“We’ll jus’ lead ’em in here,” Hagrid said, “an’ put the lids on, and we’ll see what happens.”

But the skrewts, it transpired, did not hibernate, and did not appreciate being forced into pillow-lined boxes and nailed in. Hagrid was soon yelling, “Don panic, now, don’ panic!” while the skrewts rampaged around the pumpkin patch, now strewn with the smoldering wreckage of the boxes. Most of the class – Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle in the lead – had fled into Hagrid’s cabin through the back door and barricaded themselves in; Harry, Ron, and Hermione, however, were among those who remained outside trying to help Hagrid. Together they managed to restrain and tie up nine of the skrewts, though at the cost of numerous burns and cuts; finally, only one skrewt was left.

“Don’ frighten him, now!” Hagrid shouted as Ron and Harry used their wands to shoot jets of fiery sparks at the skrewt, which was advancing menacingly on them, its sting arched, quivering, over its back. “Jus’ try an slip the rope ’round his sting, so he won hurt any o’ the others!”

“Yeah, we wouldn’t want that!” Ron shouted angrily as he and Harry backed into the wall of Hagrid’s cabin, still holding the skrewt off with their sparks.

“Well, well, well…this does look like fun.”

Rita Skeeter was leaning on Hagrid’s garden fence, looking in at the mayhem. She was wearing a thick magenta cloak with a furry purple collar today, and her crocodile-skin handbag was over her arm.

Hagrid launched himself forward on top of the skrewt that was cornering Harry and Ron and flattened it; a blast of fire shot out of its end, withering the pumpkin plants nearby.

“Who’re you?” Hagrid asked Rita Skeeter as he slipped a loop of rope around the skrewt’s sting and tightened it.

“Rita Skeeter, Daily Prophet reporter,” Rita replied, beaming at him. Her gold teeth glinted.

“Thought Dumbledore said you weren’ allowed inside the school anymore,” said Hagrid, frowning slightly as he got off the slightly squashed skrewt and started tugging it over to its fellows.

Rita acted as though she hadn’t heard what Hagrid had said.

“What are these fascinating creatures called?” she asked, beaming still more widely.

“Blast-Ended Skrewts,” grunted Hagrid.

“Really?” said Rita, apparently full of lively interest. “I’ve never heard of them before…where do they come from?”

Harry noticed a dull red flush rising up out of Hagrid’s wild black beard, and his heart sank. Where had Hagrid got the skrewts from? Hermione, who seemed to be thinking along these lines, said quickly, “They’re very interesting, aren’t they? Aren’t they. Harry?”

“What? Oh yeah…ouch…interesting,” said Harry as she stepped on his foot.

“Ah, you’re here. Harry!” said Rita Skeeter as she looked around. “So you like Care of Magical Creatures, do you? One of your favorite lessons?”

“Yes,” said Harry stoutly. Hagrid beamed at him.

“Lovely,” said Rita. “Really lovely. Been teaching long?” she added to Hagrid.

Harry noticed her eyes travel over Dean (who had a nasty cut across one cheek). Lavender (whose robes were badly singed), Seamus (who was nursing several burnt fingers), and then to the cabin windows, where most of the class stood, their noses pressed against the glass waiting to see if the coast was clear.

“This is o’ny me second year,” said Hagrid.

“Lovely…I don’t suppose you’d like to give an interview, would you? Share some of your experience of magical creatures? The Prophet does a zoological column every Wednesday, as I’m sure you know. We could feature these – er – Bang-Ended Scoots.”

“Blast-Ended Skrewts,” Hagrid said eagerly. “Er – yeah, why not?”

Harry had a very bad feeling about this, but there was no way of communicating it to Hagrid without Rita Skeeter seeing, so he had to stand and watch in silence as Hagrid and Rita Skeeter made arrangements to meet in the Three Broomsticks for a good long interview later that week. Then the bell rang up at the castle, signaling the end of the lesson.

“Well, good-bye, Harry!” Rita Skeeter called merrily to him as he set off with Ron and Hermione. “Until Friday night, then, Hagrid!”

“She’ll twist everything he says,” Harry said under his breath.

“Just as long as he didn’t import those skrewts illegally or anything,” said Hermione desperately. They looked at one another – it was exactly the sort of thing Hagrid might do.

“Hagrid’s been in loads of trouble before, and Dumbledores never sacked him,” said Ron consolingly. “Worst that can happen is Hagrid’ll have to get rid of the skrewts. Sorry…did I say worst? I meant best.”

Harry and Hermione laughed, and, feeling slightly more cheerful, went off to lunch.

Harry thoroughly enjoyed double Divination that afternoon; they were still doing star charts and predictions, but now that he and Ron were friends once more, the whole thing seemed very funny again. Professor Trelawney, who had been so pleased with the pair of them when they had been predicting their own horrific deaths, quickly became irritated as they sniggered through her explanation of the various ways in which Pluto could disrupt everyday life.

“I would think,” she said, in a mystical whisper that did not conceal her obvious annoyance, “that some of us” – she stared very meaningfully at Harry- “might be a little less frivolous had they seen what I have seen during my crystal gazing last night. As I sat here, absorbed in my needlework, the urge to consult the orb overpowered me. I arose, I settled myself before it, and I gazed into its crystalline depths…and what do you think I saw gazing back at me?”

“An ugly old bat in outsize specs?” Ron muttered under his breath.

Harry fought hard to keep his face straight.

“Death, my dears.”

Parvati and Lavender both put their hands over their mouths, looking horrified.

“Yes,” said Professor Trelawney, nodding impressively, “it comes, ever closer, it circles overhead like a vulture, ever lower…ever lower over the castle….”

She stared pointedly at Harry, who yawned very widely and obviously.

“It’d be a bit more impressive if she hadn’t done it about eighty times before,” Harry said as they finally regained the fresh air of the staircase beneath Professor Trelawney’s room. “But if I’d dropped dead every time she’s told me I’m going to, I’d be a medical miracle.”

“You’d be a sort of extra-concentrated ghost,” said Ron, chortling, as they passed the Bloody Baron going in the opposite direction, his wide eyes staring sinisterly. “At least we didn’t get homework. I hope Hermione got loads off Professor Vector, I love not working when she is….”

But Hermione wasn’t at dinner, nor was she in the library when they went to look for her afterward. The only person in there was Viktor Krum. Ron hovered behind the bookshelves for a while, watching Krum, debating in whispers with Harry whether he should ask for an autograph – but then Ron realized that six or seven girls were lurking in the next row of books, debating exactly the same thing, and he lost his enthusiasm for the idea.

“Wonder where she’s got to?” Ron said as he and Harry went back to Gryffindor Tower.


But the Fat Lady had barely begun to swing forward when the sound of racing feet behind them announced Hermione’s arrival.

“Harry!” she panted, skidding to a halt beside him (the Fat Lady stared down at her, eyebrows raised). “Harry, you’ve got to come – you’ve got to come, the most amazing thing’s happened – please -“

She seized Harry’s arm and started to try to drag him back along the corridor.

“What’s the matter?” Harry said.

“I’ll show you when we get there – oh come on, quick -“

Harry looked around at Ron; he looked back at Harry, intrigued.

“Okay,” Harry said, starting off back down the corridor with Hermione, Ron hurrying to keep up.

“Oh don’t mind me!” the Fat Lady called irritably after them. “Don’t apologize for bothering me! I’ll just hang here, wide open, until you get back, shall I?”

“Yeah, thanks!” Ron shouted over his shoulder.

“Hermione, where are we going?” Harry asked, after she had led them down through six floors, and started down the marble staircase into the entrance hall.

“You’ll see, you’ll see in a minute!” said Hermione excitedly.

She turned left at the bottom of the staircase and hurried toward the door through which Cedric Diggory had gone the night after the Goblet of Fire had regurgitated his and Harry’s names. Harry had never been through here before. He and Ron followed Hermione down a flight of stone steps, but instead of ending up in a gloomy underground passage like the one that led to Snape’s dungeon, they found themselves in a broad stone corridor, brightly lit with torches, and decorated with cheerful paintings that were mainly of food.

“Oh hang on…” said Harry slowly, halfway down the corridor. “Wait a minute, Hermione….”

“What?” She turned around to look at him, anticipation all over her face.

“I know what this is about,” said Harry.

He nudged Ron and pointed to the painting just behind Hermione. It showed a gigantic silver fruit bowl.

“Hermione!” said Ron, cottoning on. “You’re trying to rope us into that spew stuff again!”

“No, no, I’m not!” she said hastily. “And it’s not spew, Ron -“

“Changed the name, have you?” said Ron, frowning at her. “What are we now, then, the House-Elf Liberation Front? I’m not barging into that kitchen and trying to make them stop work, I’m not doing it -“

“I’m not asking you to!” Hermione said impatiently. “I came down here just now, to talk to them all, and I found – oh come on, Harry, I want to show you!”

She seized his arm again, pulled him in front of the picture of the giant fruit bowl, stretched out her forefinger, and tickled the huge green pear. It began to squirm, chuckling, and suddenly turned into a large green door handle. Hermione seized it, pulled the door open, and pushed Harry hard in the back, forcing him inside.

He had one brief glimpse of an enormous, high-ceilinged room, large as the Great Hall above it, with mounds of glittering brass pots and pans heaped around the stone walls, and a great brick fireplace at the other end, when something small hurtled toward him from the middle of the room, squealing, “Harry Potter, sir! Harry Potter!”

Next second all the wind had been knocked out of him as the squealing elf hit him hard in the midriff, hugging him so tightly he thought his ribs would break.

“D-Dobby?” Harry gasped.

“It is Dobby, sir, it is!” squealed the voice from somewhere around his navel. “Dobby has been hoping and hoping to see Harry Potter, sir, and Harry Potter has come to see him, sir!”

Dobby let go and stepped back a few paces, beaming up at Harry, his enormous, green, tennis-ball-shaped eyes brimming with tears of happiness. He looked almost exactly as Harry remembered him; the pencil-shaped nose, the batlike ears, the long fingers and feet – all except the clothes, which were very different.

When Dobby had worked for the Malfoys, he had always worn the same filthy old pillowcase. Now, however, he was wearing the strangest assortment of garments Harry had ever seen; he had done an even worse job of dressing himself than the wizards at the World Cup. He was wearing a tea cozy for a hat, on which he had pinned a number of bright badges; a tie patterned with horseshoes over a bare chest, a pair of what looked like children’s soccer shorts, and odd socks. One of these, Harry saw, was the black one Harry had removed from his own foot and tricked Mr. Malfoy into giving Dobby, thereby setting Dobby free. The other was covered in pink and orange stripes.

“Dobby, what’re you doing here?” Harry said in amazement.

“Dobby has come to work at Hogwarts, sir!” Dobby squealed excitedly. “Professor Dumbledore gave Dobby and Winky jobs, sir!

“Winky?” said Harry. “She’s here too?”

“Yes, sir, yes!” said Dobby, and he seized Harry’s hand and pulled him off into the kitchen between the four long wooden tables that stood there. Each of these tables, Harry noticed as he passed them, was positioned exactly beneath the four House tables above, in the Great Hall. At the moment, they were clear of food, dinner having finished, but he supposed that an hour ago they had been laden with dishes that were then sent up through the ceiling to their counterparts above.

At least a hundred little elves were standing around the kitchen, beaming, bowing, and curtsying as Dobby led Harry past them. They were all wearing the same uniform: a tea towel stamped with the Hogwarts crest, and tied, as Winky’s had been, like a toga.

Dobby stopped in front of the brick fireplace and pointed.

“Winky, sir!” he said.

Winky was sitting on a stool by the fire. Unlike Dobby, she had obviously not foraged for clothes. She was wearing a neat little skirt and blouse with a matching blue hat, which had holes in it for her large ears. However, while every one of Dobby’s strange collection of garments was so clean and well cared for that it looked brand-new, Winky was plainly not taking care other clothes at all. There were soup stains all down her blouse and a burn in her skirt.

“Hello, Winky,” said Harry.

Winky’s lip quivered. Then she burst into tears, which spilled out of her great brown eyes and splashed down her front, just as they had done at the Quidditch World Cup.

“Oh dear,” said Hermione. She and Ron had followed Harry and Dobby to the end of the kitchen. “Winky, don’t cry, please don’t…”

But Winky cried harder than ever. Dobby, on the other hand, beamed up at Harry.

“Would Harry Potter like a cup of tea?” he squeaked loudly, over Winky’s sobs.

“Er – yeah, okay,” said Harry.

Instantly, about six house-elves came trotting up behind him, bearing a large silver tray laden with a teapot, cups for Harry, Ron, and Hermione, a milk jug, and a large plate of biscuits.

“Good service!” Ron said, in an impressed voice. Hermione frowned at him, but the elves all looked delighted; they bowed very low and retreated.

“How long have you been here, Dobby?” Harry asked as Dobby handed around the tea.

“Only a week. Harry Potter, sir!” said Dobby happily. “Dobby came to see Professor Dumbledore, sir. You see, sir, it is very difficult for a house-elf who has been dismissed to get a new position, sir, very difficult indeed -“

At this, Winky howled even harder, her squashed-tomato of a nose dribbling all down her front, though she made no effort to stem the flow.

“Dobby has traveled the country for two whole years, sir, trying to find work!” Dobby squeaked. “But Dobby hasn’t found work, sir, because Dobby wants paying now!”

The house-elves all around the kitchen, who had been listening and watching with interest, all looked away at these words, as though Dobby had said something rude and embarrassing. Hermione, however, said, “Good for you, Dobby!”

“Thank you, miss!” said Dobby, grinning toothily at her. “But most wizards doesn’t want a house-elf who wants paying, miss. ‘That’s not the point of a house-elf,’ they says, and they slammed the door in Dobby’s face! Dobby likes work, but he wants to wear clothes and he wants to be paid. Harry Potter….Dobby likes being free!”

The Hogwarts house-elves had now started edging away from Dobby, as though he were carrying something contagious. Winky, however, remained where she was, though there was a definite increase in the volume other crying.

“And then, Harry Potter, Dobby goes to visit Winky, and finds out Winky has been freed too, sir!” said Dobby delightedly.

At this, Winky flung herself forward off her stool and lay face-down on the flagged stone floor, beating her tiny fists upon it and positively screaming with misery. Hermione hastily dropped down to her knees beside her and tried to comfort her, but nothing she said made the slightest difference. Dobby continued with his story, shouting shrilly over Winky’s screeches.

“And then Dobby had the idea. Harry Potter, sir! ‘Why doesn’t Dobby and Winky find work together?’ Dobby says. ‘Where is there enough work for two house-elves?’ says Winky. And Dobby thinks, and it comes to him, sir! Hogwarts! So Dobby and Winky came to see Professor Dumbledore, sir, and Professor Dumbledore took us on!”

Dobby beamed very brightly, and happy tears welled in his eyes again.

“And Professor Dumbledore says he will pay Dobby, sir, if Dobby wants paying! And so Dobby is a free elf, sir, and Dobby gets a Galleon a week and one day off a month!”

“That’s not very much!” Hermione shouted indignantly from the floor, over Winky’s continued screaming and fist-beating.

“Professor Dumbledore offered Dobby ten Galleons a week, and weekends off,” said Dobby, suddenly giving a little shiver, as though the prospect of so much leisure and riches were frightening, “but Dobby beat him down, miss….Dobby likes freedom, miss, but he isn’t wanting too much, miss, he likes work better.”

“And how much is Professor Dumbledore paying you, Winky?” Hermione asked kindly.

If she had thought this would cheer up Winky, she was wildly mistaken. Winky did stop crying, but when she sat up she was glaring at Hermione through her massive brown eyes, her whole face sopping wet and suddenly furious.

“Winky is a disgraced elf, but Winky is not yet getting paid!” she squeaked. “Winky is not sunk so low as that! Winky is properly ashamed of being freed!”

“Ashamed?” said Hermione blankly. “But – Winky, come on! It’s Mr. Crouch who should be ashamed, not you! You didn’t do anything wrong, he was really horrible to you -“

But at these words, Winky clapped her hands over the holes in her hat, flattening her ears so that she couldn’t hear a word, and screeched, “You is not insulting my master, miss! You is not insulting Mr. Crouch! Mr. Crouch is a good wizard, miss! Mr. Crouch is right to sack bad Winky!”

“Winky is having trouble adjusting, Harry Potter,” squeaked Dobby confidentially. “Winky forgets she is not bound to Mr. Crouch anymore; she is allowed to speak her mind now, but she won’t do it.”

“Can’t house-elves speak their minds about their masters, then?” Harry asked.

“Oh no, sir, no,” said Dobby, looking suddenly serious. “‘Tis part of the house-elf’s enslavement, sir. We keeps their secrets and our silence, sir. We upholds the family’s honor, and we never speaks ill of them – though Professor Dumbledore told Dobby he does not insist upon this. Professor Dumbledore said we is free to – to -“

Dobby looked suddenly nervous and beckoned Harry closer. Harry bent forward. Dobby whispered, “He said we is free to call him a – a barmy old codger if we likes, sir!”

Dobby gave a frightened sort of giggle.

“But Dobby is not wanting to, Harry Potter,” he said, talking normally again, and shaking his head so that his ears flapped. “Dobby likes Professor Dumbledore very much, sir, and is proud to keep his secrets and our silence for him.”

“But you can say what you like about the Malfoys now?” Harry asked him, grinning.

A slightly fearful look came into Dobby’s immense eyes.

“Dobby – Dobby could,” he said doubtfully. He squared his small shoulders. “Dobby could tell Harry Potter that his old masters were – were – bad Dark wizards!”

Dobby stood for a moment, quivering all over, horror-struck by his own daring – then he rushed over to the nearest table and began banging his head on it very hard, squealing, “Bad Dobby! Bad Dobby!”

Harry seized Dobby by the back of his tie and pulled him away from the table.

“Thank you. Harry Potter, thank you,” said Dobby breathlessly, rubbing his head.

“You just need a bit of practice,” Harry said.

“Practice!” squealed Winky furiously. “You is ought to be ashamed of yourself, Dobby, talking that way about your masters!”

“They isn’t my masters anymore, Winky!” said Dobby defiantly. “Dobby doesn’t care what they think anymore!”

“Oh you is a bad elf, Dobby!” moaned Winky, tears leaking down her face once more. “My poor Mr. Crouch, what is he doing without Winky? He is needing me, he is needing my help! I is looking after the Crouches all my life, and my mother is doing it before me, and my grandmother is doing it before her…oh what is they saying if they knew Winky was freed? Oh the shame, the shame!” She buried her face in her skirt again and bawled.

“Winky,” said Hermione firmly, “I’m quite sure Mr. Crouch is getting along perfectly well without you. We’ve seen him, you know -“

“You is seeing my master?” said Winky breathlessly, raising her tearstained face out of her skirt once more and goggling at Hermione. “You is seeing him here at Hogwarts?”

“Yes,” said Hermione, “he and Mr. Bagman are judges in the Triwizard Tournament.”

“Mr. Bagman comes too?” squeaked Winky, and to Harry ‘s great surprise (and Ron’s and Hermione’s too, by the looks on their faces), she looked angry again. “Mr. Bagman is a bad wizard! A very bad wizard! My master isn’t liking him, oh no, not at all!”

“Bagman – bad?” said Harry.

“Oh yes,” Winky said, nodding her head furiously, “My master is telling Winky some things! But Winky is not saying…Winky – Winky keeps her master’s secrets….”

She dissolved yet again in tears; they could hear her sobbing into her skirt, “Poor master, poor master, no Winky to help him no more!”

They couldn’t get another sensible word out of Winky. They left her to her crying and finished their tea, while Dobby chatted happily about his life as a free elf and his plans for his wages.

“Dobby is going to buy a sweater next, Harry Potter!” he said happily, pointing at his bare chest.

“Tell you what, Dobby,” said Ron, who seemed to have taken a great liking to the elf, “I’ll give you the one my mum knits me this Christmas, I always get one from her. You don’t mind maroon, do you?”

Dobby was delighted.

“We might have to shrink it a bit to fit you,” Ron told him, “but it’ll go well with your tea cozy.”

As they prepared to take their leave, many of the surrounding elves pressed in upon them, offering snacks to take back upstairs. Hermione refused, with a pained look at the way the elves kept bowing and curtsying, but Harry and Ron loaded their pockets with cream cakes and pies.

“Thanks a lot!” Harry said to the elves, who had all clustered around the door to say good night. “See you, Dobby!”

“Harry Potter…can Dobby come and see you sometimes, sir?” Dobby asked tentatively.

” ‘Course you can,” said Harry, and Dobby beamed.

“You know what?” said Ron, once he, Hermione, and Harry had left the kitchens behind and were climbing the steps into the entrance hall again. “All these years I’ve been really impressed with Fred and George, nicking food from the kitchens – well, it’s not exactly difficult, is it? They can’t wait to give it away!”

“I think this is the best thing that could have happened to those elves, you know,” said Hermione, leading the way back up the marble staircase. “Dobby coming to work here, I mean. The other elves will see how happy he is, being free, and slowly it’ll dawn on them that they want that too!”

“Let’s hope they don’t look too closely at Winky,” said Harry.

“Oh she’ll cheer up,” said Hermione, though she sounded a bit doubtful. “Once the shock’s worn off, and she’s got used to Hogwarts, she’ll see how much better off she is without that Crouch man.”

“She seems to love him,” said Ron thickly (he had just started on a cream cake). “Doesn’t think much of Bagman, though, does she?” said Harry. “Wonder what Crouch says at home about him?”

“Probably says he’s not a very good Head of Department,” said Hermione, “and let’s face it…he’s got a point, hasn’t he?”

“I’d still rather work for him than old Crouch,” said Ron. “At least Bagman’s got a sense of humor.”

“Don’t let Percy hear you saying that,” Hermione said, smiling slightly.

“Yeah, well, Percy wouldn’t want to work for anyone with a sense of humor, would he?” said Ron, now starting on a chocolate eclair. “Percy wouldn’t recognize a joke if it danced naked in front of him wearing Dobby’s tea cozy.”

Free Essays

Chapter 1 The Riddle House

The villagers of Little Hangleton still called it “the Riddle House,” even though it had been many years since the Riddle family had lived there. It stood on a hill overlooking the village, some of its windows boarded, tiles missing from its roof, and ivy spreading unchecked over its face. Once a fine-looking manor, and easily the largest and grandest building for miles around, the Riddle House was now damp, derelict, and unoccupied.

The Little Hangletons all agreed that the old house was “creepy.” Half a century ago, something strange and horrible had happened there, something that the older inhabitants of the village still liked to discuss when topics for gossip were scarce. The story had been picked over so many times, and had been embroidered in so many places, that nobody was quite sure what the truth was anymore. Every version of the tale, however, started in the same place: Fifty years before, at daybreak on a fine summer’s morning when the Riddle House had still been well kept and impressive, a maid had entered the drawing room to find all three Riddles dead.

The maid had run screaming down the hill into the village and roused as many people as she could.

“Lying there with their eyes wide open! Cold as ice! Still in their dinner things!”

The police were summoned, and the whole of Little Hangleton had seethed with shocked curiosity and ill-disguised excitement. Nobody wasted their breath pretending to feel very sad about the Riddles, for they had been most unpopular. Elderly Mr. and Mrs. Riddle had been rich, snobbish, and rude, and their grown-up son, Tom, had been, if anything, worse. All the villagers cared about was the identity of their murderer – for plainly, three apparently healthy people did not all drop dead of natural causes on the same night.

The Hanged Man, the village pub, did a roaring trade that night; the whole village seemed to have turned out to discuss the murders. They were rewarded for leaving their firesides when the Riddles’ cook arrived dramatically in their midst and announced to the suddenly silent pub that a man called Frank Bryce had just been arrested.

“Frank!” cried several people. “Never!”

Frank Bryce was the Riddles’ gardener. He lived alone in a run-down cottage on the grounds of the Riddle House. Frank had come back from the war with a very stiff leg and a great dislike of crowds and loud noises, and had been working for the Riddles ever since.

There was a rush to buy the cook drinks and hear more details.

“Always thought he was odd,” she told the eagerly listening villagers, after her fourth sherry. “Unfriendly, like. I’m sure if I’ve offered him a cuppa once, I’ve offered it a hundred times. Never wanted to mix, he didn’t.”

“Ah, now,” said a woman at the bar, “he had a hard war, Frank. He likes the quiet life. That’s no reason to -“

“Who else had a key to the back door, then?” barked the cook. “There’s been a spare key hanging in the gardener’s cottage far back as I can remember! Nobody forced the door last night! No broken windows! All Frank had to do was creep up to the big house while we was all sleeping…”

The villagers exchanged dark looks.

“I always thought that he had a nasty look about him, right enough,” grunted a man at the bar.

“War turned him funny, if you ask me,” said the landlord.

“Told you I wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of Frank, didn’t I, Dot?” said an excited woman in the corner.

“Horrible temper,” said Dot, nodding fervently. “I remember, when he was a kid…”

By the following morning, hardly anyone in Little Hangleton doubted that Frank Bryce had killed the Riddles.

But over in the neighboring town of Great Hangleton, in the dark and dingy police station, Frank was stubbornly repeating, again and again, that he was innocent, and that the only person he had seen near the house on the day of the Riddles’ deaths had been a teenage boy, a stranger, dark-haired and pale. Nobody else in the village had seen any such boy, and the police were quite sure Frank had invented him.

Then, just when things were looking very serious for Frank, the report on the Riddles’ bodies came back and changed everything.

The police had never read an odder report. A team of doctors had examined the bodies and had concluded that none of the Riddles had been poisoned, stabbed, shot, strangles, suffocated, or (as far as they could tell) harmed at all. In fact (the report continued, in a tone of unmistakable bewilderment), the Riddles all appeared to be in perfect health – apart from the fact that they were all dead. The doctors did note (as though determined to find something wrong with the bodies) that each of the Riddles had a look of terror upon his or her face – but as the frustrated police said, whoever heard of three people being frightened to death?

As there was no proof that the Riddles had been murdered at all, the police were forced to let Frank go. The Riddles were buried in the Little Hangleton churchyard, and their graves remained objects of curiosity for a while. To everyone’s surprise, and amid a cloud of suspicion, Frank Bryce returned to his cottage on the grounds of the Riddle House.

“As far as I’m concerned, he killed them, and I don’t care what the police say,” said Dot in the Hanged Man. “And if he had any decency, he’d leave here, knowing as how we knows he did it.”

But Frank did not leave. He stayed to tend the garden for the next family who lived in the Riddle House, and then the next – for neither family stayed long. Perhaps it was partly because of Frank that the new owners said there was a nasty feeling about the place, which, in the absence of inhabitants, started to fall into disrepair.

The wealthy man who owned the Riddle House these days neither lived there nor put it to any use; they said in the village that he kept it for “tax reasons,” though nobody was very clear what these might be. The wealthy owner continued to pay Frank to do the gardening, however. Frank was nearing his seventy-seventh birthday now, very deaf, his bad leg stiffer than ever, but could be seen pottering around the flower beds in fine weather, even though the weeds were starting to creep up on him, try as he might to suppress them.

Weeds were not the only things Frank had to contend with either. Boys from the village made a habit of throwing stones through the windows of the Riddle House. They rode their bicycles over the lawns Frank worked so hard to keep smooth. Once or twice, they broke into the old house for a dare. They knew that old Frank’s devotion to the house and the grounds amounted almost to an obsession, and it amused them to see him limping across the garden, brandishing his stick and yelling croakily at them. Frank, for his part, believed the boys tormented him because they, like their parents and grandparents, though him a murderer. So when Frank awoke one night in August and saw something very odd up at the old house, he merely assumed that the boys had gone one step further in their attempts to punish him.

It was Frank’s bad leg that woke him; it was paining him worse than ever in his old age. He got up and limped downstairs into the kitchen with the idea of refilling his hot-water bottle to ease the stiffness in his knee. Standing at the sink, filling the kettle, he looked up at the Riddle House and saw lights glimmering in its upper windows. Frank knew at once what was going on. The boys had broken into the house again, and judging by the flickering quality of the light, they had started a fire.

Frank had no telephone, in any case, he had deeply mistrusted the police ever since they had taken him in for questioning about the Riddles’ deaths. He put down the kettle at once, hurried back upstairs as fast as his bad leg would allow, and was soon back in his kitchen, fully dressed and removing a rusty old key from its hook by the door. He picked up his walking stick, which was propped against the wall, and set off into the night.

The front door of the Riddle House bore no sign of being forced, nor did any of the windows. Frank limped around to the back of the house until he reached a door almost completely hidden by ivy, took out the old key, put it into the lock, and opened the door noiselessly.

He let himself into the cavernous kitchen. Frank had not entered it for many years; nevertheless, although it was very dark, he remembered where the door into the hall was, and he groped his way towards it, his nostrils full of the smell of decay, ears pricked for any sound of footsteps or voices from overhead. He reached the hall, which was a little lighter owing to the large mullioned windows on either side of the front door, and started to climb the stairs, blessing the dust that lay thick upon the stone, because it muffled the sound of his feet and stick.

On the landing, Frank turned right, and saw at once where the intruders were: At the every end of the passage a door stood ajar, and a flickering light shone through the gap, casting a long sliver of gold across the black floor. Frank edged closer and closer, he was able to see a narrow slice of the room beyond.

The fire, he now saw, had been lit in the grate. This surprised him. Then he stopped moving and listened intently, for a man’s voice spoke within the room; it sounded timid and fearful.

“There is a little more in the bottle, My Lord, if you are still hungry.”

“Later,” said a second voice. This too belonged to a man – but it was strangely high-pitched, and cold as a sudden blast of icy wind. Something about that voice made the sparse hairs on the back of Frank’s neck stand up. “Move me closer to the fire, Wormtail.”

Frank turned his right ear toward the door, the better to hear. There came the clink of a bottle being put down upon some hard surface, and then the dull scraping noise of a heavy chair being dragged across the floor. Frank caught a glimpse of a small man, his back to the door, pushing the chair into place. He was wearing a long black cloak, and there was a bald patch at the back of his head. Then he went out of sight again.

“Where is Nagini?” said the cold voice.

“I – I don’t know, My Lord,” said the first voice nervously. “She set out to explore the house, I think…”

“You will milk her before we retire, Wormtail,” said the second voice. “I will need feeding in the night. The journey has tired me greatly.”

Brow furrowed, Frank inclined his good ear still closer to the door, listening very hard. There was a pause, and then the man called Wormtail spoke again.

“My Lord, may I ask how long we are going to stay here?”

“A week,” said the cold voice. “Perhaps longer. The place is moderately comfortable, and the plan cannot proceed yet. It would be foolish to act before the Quidditch World Cup is over.”

Frank inserted a gnarled finger into his ear and rotated it. Owing, no doubt, to a buildup of earwax, he had heard the word “Quidditch,” which was not a word at all.

“The – the Quidditch World Cup, My Lord?” said Wormtail. (Frank dug his finger still more vigorously into his ear.) “Forgive me, but – I do not understand – why should we wait until the World Cup is over?”

“Because, fool, at this very moment wizards are pouring into the country from all over the world, and every meddler from the Ministry of Magic will be on duty, on the watch for signs of unusual activity, checking and double-checking identities. They will be obsessed with security, lest the Muggles notice anything. So we wait.”

Frank stopped trying to clear out his ear. He had distinctly heard the words “Ministry of Magic,” “wizards,” and “Muggles.” Plainly, each of these expressions meant something secret, and Frank could think of only two sorts of people who would speak in code: spies and criminals. Frank tightened his hold on his walking stick once more, and listened more closely still.

“Your Lordship is still determined, then?” Wormtail said quietly.

“Certainly I am determined, Wormtail.” There was a note of menace in the cold voice now.

A slight pause followed – and the Wormtail spoke, the words tumbling from him in a rush, as though he was forcing himself to say this before he lost his nerve.

“It could be done without Harry Potter, My Lord.”

Another pause, more protracted, and then –

“Without Harry Potter?” breathed the second voice softly. “I see…”

“My Lord, I do not say this out of concern for the boy!” said Wormtail, his voice rising squeakily. “The boy is nothing to me, nothing at all! It is merely that if we were to use another witch or wizard – any wizard – the thing could be done so much more quickly! If you allowed me to leave you for a short while – you know that I can disguise myself most effectively – I could be back here in as little as two days with a suitable person -“

“I could use another wizard,” said the cold voice softly, “that is true…”

“My Lord, it makes sense,” said Wormtail, sounding thoroughly relieved now. “Laying hands on Harry Potter would be so difficult, he is so well protected -“

“And so you volunteer to go and fetch me a substitute? I wonder…perhaps the task of nursing me has become wearisome for you, Wormtail? Could this suggestion of abandoning the plan be nothing more than an attempt to desert me?”

“My Lord! I – I have no wish to leave you, none at all -“

“Do not lie to me!” hissed the second voice. “I can always tell, Wormtail! You are regretting that you ever returned to me. I revolt you. I see you flinch when you look at me, feel you shudder when you touch me…”

“No! My devotion to Your Lordship -“

“Your devotion is nothing more than cowardice. You would not be here if you had anywhere else to go. How am I to survive without you, when I need feeding every few hours? Who is to milk Nagini?”

“But you seem so much stronger, My Lord -“

“Liar,” breathed the second voice. “I am no stronger, and a few days alone would be enough to rob me of the little health I have regained under your clumsy care. Silence!”

Wormtail, who had been sputtering incoherently, fell silent at once. For a few seconds, Frank could hear nothing but the fire crackling. The second man spoke once more, in a whisper that was almost a hiss.

“I have my reasons for using the boy, as I have already explained to you, and I will use no other. I have waited thirteen years. A few more months will make no difference. As for the protection surrounding the boy, I believe my plan will be effective. All that is needed is a little courage from you, Wormtail – courage you will find, unless you wish to feel the full extent of Lord Voldermort’s wrath -“

“My Lord, I must speak!” said Wormtail, panic in his voice now. “All through our journey I have gone over the plan in my head – My Lord, Bertha Jorkin’s disappearance will not go unnoticed for long, and if we proceed, if I murder -“

“If?” whispered the second voice. “If? If you follow the plan, Wormtail, the Ministry need never know that anyone else has died. You will do it quietly and without fuss; I only wish that I could do it myself, but in my present condition…Come, Wormtail, one more death and our path to Harry Potter is clear. I am not asking you to do it alone. By that time, my faithful servant will have rejoined us -“

“I am a faithful servant,” said Wormtail, the merest trace of sullenness in his voice.

“Wormtail, I need somebody with brains, somebody whose loyalty has never wavered, and you, unfortunately, fulfill neither requirement.”

“I found you,” said Wormtail, and there was definitely a sulky edge to his voice now. “I was the one who found you. I brought you Bertha Jorkins.”

“That is true,” said the second man, sounding amused. “A stroke of brilliance I would not have thought possible from you, Wormtail – though, if truth be told, you were not aware how useful she would be when you caught her, were you?”

“I – I thought she might be useful, My Lord -“

“Liar,” said the second voice again, the cruel amusement more pronounced than ever. “However, I do not deny that her information was invaluable. Without it, I could never have formed our plan, and for that, you will have your reward, Wormtail. I will allow you to perform an essential task for me, one that many of my followers would give their right hands to perform…”

“R-really, My Lord? What -?” Wormtail sounded terrified again.

“Ah, Wormtail, you don’t want me to spoil the surprise? Your part will come at the very end…but I promise you, you will have the honor of being just as useful as Bertha Jorkins.”

“You…you…” Wormtail’s voice suddenly sounded hoarse, as though his mouth had gone very dry. “You…are going…to kill me too?”

“Wormtail, Wormtail,” said the cold voice silkily, “why would I kill you? I killed Bertha because I had to. She was fit for nothing after my questioning, quite useless. In any case, awkward questions would have been asked if she had gone back to the Ministry with the news that she had met you on her holidays. Wizards who are supposed to be dead would do well not to run into Ministry of Magic witches at wayside inns…”

Wormtail muttered something so quietly that Frank could not hear it, but it made the second man laugh – an entirely mirthless laugh, cold as his speech.

“We could have modified her memory? But Memory Charms can be broken by a powerful wizard, as I proved when I questioned her. It would be an insult to her memory not to use the information I extracted from her, Wormtail.”

Out in the corridor, Frank suddenly became aware that the hand gripping his walking stick was slippery with sweat. The man with the cold voice had killed a woman. He was talking about it without any kind of remorse – with amusement. He was dangerous – a madman. And he was planning more murders – this boy, Harry Potter, whoever he was – was in danger –

Frank knew what he must do. Now, if ever, was the time to go to the police. He would creep out of the house and head straight for the telephone box in the village…but the cold voice was speaking again, and Frank remained where he was, frozen to the spot, listening with all his might.

“One more murder…my faithful servant at Hogwarts…Harry Potter is as good as mine, Wormtail. It is decided. There will be no more argument. But quiet…I think I hear Nagini…”

And the second man’s voice changed. He started making noises such as Frank had never heard before; he was hissing and spitting without drawing breath. Frank thought he must be having some sort of fit or seizure.

And then Frank heard movement behind him in the dark passageway. He turned to look, and found himself paralyzed with fright.

Something was slithering toward him along the dark corridor floor, and as it drew nearer to the sliver of firelight, he realized with a thrill of terror that it was a gigantic snake, at least twelve feet long. Horrified, transfixed, Frank stared as its undulating body cut a wide, curving track through the thick dust on the floor, coming closer and closer – What was he to do? The only means of escape was into the room where the two men sat plotting murder, yet if he stayed where he was the snake would surely kill him –

But before he had made his decision, the snake was level with him, and then, incredibly, miraculously, it was passing; it was following the spitting, hissing noises made by the cold voice beyond the door, and in seconds, the tip of its diamond-patterned tail had vanished through the gap.

There was sweat on Frank’s forehead now, and the hand on the walking stick was trembling. Inside the room, the cold voice was continuing to hiss, and Frank was visited by a strange idea, an impossible idea…This man could talk to snakes.

Frank didn’t understand what was going on. He wanted more than anything to be back in his bed with his hot-water bottle. The problem was that his legs didn’t seem to want to move. As he stood there shaking and trying to master himself, the cold voice switched abruptly to English again.

“Nagini has interesting news, Wormtail,” it said.

“In-indeed, My Lord?” said Wormtail.

“Indeed, yes,” said the voice, “According to Nagini, there is an old Muggle standing right outside this room, listening to every word we say.”

Frank didn’t have a chance to hide himself. There were footsteps and then the door of the room was flung wide open.

A short, balding man with graying hair, a pointed nose, and small, watery eyes stood before Frank, a mixture of fear and alarm in his face.

“Invite him inside, Wormtail. Where are your manners?”

The cold voice was coming from the ancient armchair before the fire, but Frank couldn’t see the speaker. the snake, on the other hand, was curled up on the rotting hearth rug, like some horrible travesty of a pet dog.

Wormtail beckoned Frank into the room. Though still deeply shaken, Frank took a firmer grip on his walking stick and limped over the threshold.

The fire was the only source of light in the room; it cast long, spidery shadows upon the walls. Frank stared at the back of the armchair; the man inside it seemed to be even smaller than his servant, for Frank couldn’t even see the back of his head.

“You heard everything, Muggle?” said the cold voice.

“What’s that you’re calling me?” said Frank defiantly, for now that he was inside the room, now that the time had come for some sort of action, he felt braver; it had always been so in the war.

“I am calling you a Muggle,” said the voice coolly. “It means that you are not a wizard.”

“I don’t know what you mean by wizard,” said Frank, his voice growing steadier. “All I know is I’ve heard enough to interest the police tonight, I have. You’ve done murder and you’re planning more! And I’ll tell you this too,” he added, on a sudden inspiration, “my wife knows I’m up here, and if I don’t come back -“

“You have no wife,” said the cold voice, very quietly. “Nobody knows you are here. You told nobody that you were coming. Do not lie to Lord Voldemort, Muggle, for he knows…he always knows…”

“Is that right?” said Frank roughly. “Lord, is it? Well, I don’t think much of your manners, My Lord. Turn ’round and face me like a man, why don’t you?”

“But I am not a man, Muggle,” said the cold voice, barely audible now over the crackling of the flames. “I am much, much more than a man. However…why not? I will face you…Wormtail, come turn my chair around.”

The servant gave a whimper.

“You heard me, Wormtail.”

Slowly, with his face screwed up, as though he would rather have done anything than approach his master and the hearth rug where the snake lay, the small man walked forward and began to turn the chair. The snake lifted its ugly triangular head and hissed slightly as the legs of the chair snagged on its rug.

And then the chair was facing Frank, and he saw what was sitting in it. His walking stick fell to the floor with a clatter. He opened his mouth and let out a scream. He was screaming so loudly that he never heard the words the thing in the chair spoke as it raised a wand. There was a flash of green light, a rushing sound, and Frank Bryce crumpled. He was dead before he hit the floor.

Two hundred miles away, the boy called Harry Potter woke with a start.

Free Essays

Critically analyse the ruling of the House of Lords in ‘Howe [1987] 1 AC 417’ that duress is not a defence to murder.


It will be critically analysed in this study whether the ruling of the House of Lords in ‘Howe [1987] 1 AC 417’ was acceptable and whether the notion that duress is not a defence to murder should continue to apply. Various academic opinion will be analysed and a review as to whether some change ought to be made will be considered. Thus, it will be demonstrated that although duress should not be a complete defence to murder, it should be a partial defence as there are some situations which lead to injustice on the basis that this defence is not available to them.[1]

Main Body

Duress is a common law defence that seeks to protect individuals that have been forced or compelled to commit a crime. The defence of duress provides an exception to the rule that a person shall be held responsible for any crimes they commit on the basis that they had not done so voluntarily. As the defence is open to abuse, caution needs to be taken by the Courts when allowing the defence to be submitted. Accordingly, restrictions are needed to ensure that the level of threat the defendant has been subjected to is not menial. Hence, as noted by Spain; the defence of duress “fails to recognise the reality that one will not need to be subjected to a specific type or level of threat for one’s will to be overborne.”[2] Furthermore, it is also important that the crime is not disproportionate to the threat in order for this defence to prove successful. This will prevent an abuse of the defence from occurring as individuals will not be able to take advantage of the defence in all circumstances.

An example of this can be seen in relation to murder where the defence of duress is not generally accepted by the Courts. This is because, it is difficult to persuade the Court that a person has been forced or compelled into committing a crime when the harm that has been caused, is greater than the harm that has been threated. In deciding whether a defendant can use this defence, nonetheless, the Courts will have to use the proportionality test, which is both subjective and objective. In R v Howe[3] it was held that a jury should consider whether; a) the defendant acted in this way because he honestly believed that his life was in immediate danger; and b) a reasonable person of the same characteristics of the defendant would have acted in the same way. Here, it was, nonetheless, found that duress could not be a defence to murder. This decision has been the subject of much controversy over the years with conflicting views as to whether the defence of duress should in fact apply to murder.[4]

On the one hand, it is believed by Shankland that duress should serve as a valid defence to murder on the basis that a murder which has been committed as a result of duress should be distinguished from a murder that was pre-meditated.[5] On the other hand, it was said by Toczek that defendants should not be able to rely upon the duress defence for murder as this could not be deemed a ‘reasonable’ belief as required by the Court in Howe.[6] Accordingly, it would be difficult to establish that a person’s belief to commit murder was ‘reasonable’ on the basis that they were subjected to duress. The Court in the more recent case of R v Hasan[7] agreed with the Howe decision and made it even more difficult for the defence of duress to be successfully raised in all criminal cases. Here, it was argued that rather than merely finding that the defendant had a ‘reasonable’ belief, it must be shown that they had an ‘actual’ belief in the efficacy of the threat which compelled the defendant to commit the act.

Arguably, it became apparent from this decision that rather than defendants demonstrating that they had a reasonable belief, they are now required to show that the reasonable belief was also a genuine one. The Law Commission have also expressed their concerns as to whether duress should apply to murder and have considered including duress as a partial defence to murder.[8] This would mean that first degree murder could be reduced to second degree murder, whilst second degree murder could be reduced to manslaughter. Whilst this would provide some protection to those individuals who have genuinely feared for their own or families life in committing the crime, it would prevent the scope being broadened too far. Accordingly, it has been said that moral involuntariness should be excused and that regardless as to what crime the defendant had committed, duress should be capable of being used as a defence.[9] Hence, it is said that the defendants fear or lack of courage should be given due consideration as these are central to the rational of the defendant.


Overall, it is evident that there are mixed opinions as to whether duress should be used as a defence to murder, yet whether this would broaden the scope too far is likely. This is because the defence would most likely be open to abuse if it could be used in circumstances such as this. Individuals would be capable of demonstrating that they had been subjected to duress in order to escape criminal liability for murder. This would be unjust in many situations as it cannot be said that the life of a human being is proportionate to a threat that has been made. Nevertheless, in order to ensure that complete liability is not imposed upon defendants in circumstances where they genuinely feared for their life, it could be said that duress should be used as a partial defence to murder. This would prevent defendants from completely escaping liability, yet it would provide the Courts with some leeway when considering certain cases that would require a defence, such as domestic violence victims.



E Spain., The Role of Emotions in Criminal Law Defences: Duress, Necessity and Lesser Evils, (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

The Law Commission., Murder, Manslaughter and Infanticide: Project 6 of the Ninth Programme of Law Reform; Homicide, (The Stationary Office, 2006).


G Williams., ‘Necessity: Duress of Circumstances or Moral Involuntariness?’ Common Law World Review, Volume 43, Issue 1, 1.

L Toczek., ‘A Case of Duress’ The New Law Journal, Volume 155, Issue 7173, 612.

M Sorarajah., ‘Duress and Murder in Commonwealth Criminal Law’ (1981) The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Volume 30, No 3, 660-661.

R Shankland., ‘Duress and the Underlying Felony’ (2009) Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Volume 99, Issue 1227.


R v Hasan [2005] UKHL 22

R v Howe [1987] 1 AC 417

Free Essays

Love and Power in Marriage as Portrayed in A Doll House

A Doll’s House by Ibsen has become a starting moment for a new step in the development of drama genre. Prior to this play, Ibsen’s contemporary drama consisted of behavior plays and historical theatre. But A Doll’s House added a new aspect to the problems highlighted by the contemporary drama. Ibsen in his play introduced a crucial examination of social issues, and the nature of Victorian marriage. By revealing the background of Helmer marriage Ibsen makes the intimate private and stands up for women identity. Revealing the secrecy of marriage Ibsen overturns the customary roles of a woman and a man as they were regarded by the society before.

Marriage in Victorian Society

Ibsen provides Nora with the new role different from the role of wife and mother that was an innovation for the contemporary society. As it was customary to refer to woman’s identity in the context of her marital role, Ibsen’s play appeared as a protest, and this play is still regarded as a feminist writing, although the author denied it.

The author touched a few intertwined themes, but marital relations are one of the most crucial issues, referred to in the play. Victorian age was cruel towards human identity in general, let alone woman’s individuality. The economical background buried the interest to the individuality within the society. During the period after the French Revolution the thirst for individual freedom was replaced by the economic power, and as the result, women were deprived of the power more than ever.

Nora’s changed attitude towards her marriage is not just a problem in the relations between a husband and wife; it is the symbol of the most serious problems of bourgeois values of the middle class. By rejecting the marriage, Nora also denies these values, thus demonstrating the opposition between identity and economical stability: “I should try to become a human being” (Act Three)

A Doll’s House reflects Ibsen’s own relation to the problem of woman’s self-expression. He was sure that women could express themselves, their individuality but in a real life woman’s role in marriage came to a sacrifice. Neither husbands nor society treated women as equals with their spouses. The scene of Torvald being afraid of his employers believing that he had been influenced by his wife is a perfect illustration of the relation to women in Victorian society.

Marriage in Victorian society became a kind of a social trap, worse for woman than for men. Divorce was not forbidden, but it was accompanied by such a strong social ban that it could ever be regarded as the possible way to resolve the problems in family life. That’s why Torvald shows his inner weakness by his desire to pretend that he and Nora had a happy family, rather than bear the social antagonism: “From this moment happiness is not the question; all that concerns us is to save the remains, the fragments, the appearance – ” (Act Three)

On the contrary, Nora, as the symbol of woman, who wasn’t treated as a powerful identity, shows her force by her serious intentions in finding her individuality. Nora feels a fragility of love, but she doesn’t give up and feels the power to build a new happy life instead of her unhappy marriage.

Love and Power in the Marriage of Torvald and Nora

Nora, who at the beginning was displayed as a happy woman full of love and devoted to her family, realizes that that her happiness is just her dream, but not reality. Thus, she and her husband exchange their roles – Nora is strong enough to face the reality, while her husband is afraid of everything that may damage his habitual life. Nora understands that she was treated like a child used for amusement.

The men around her, her husband and her father wanted to see her helpless, seeing her only mission in serving them: “I have existed merely to perform tricks for you, Torvald. But you wanted it like that. You and father have committed a great sin against me. It is your fault that I have made nothing of my life. Our home has been nothing but a playroom. I have been your doll-wife, just as at home I was father’s doll-child; and here the children have been my dolls.” (Act Three) This is how the concept and picture of marriage changes as the plot of the play goes.

At the beginning of the play Nora and her husband seem to be a happy family, a husband and a wife who love each other. However, this happiness and love are built on a lie. Nora pretends that she is helpless without Torvald’s protection and power: I would never dream of doing anything you didn’t want me to” and “I never get anywhere without your help” (Act One), while the reader and spectator knows that she has already rescued Torvald’s life, and Nora’s words acquires dramatically ironical nature.

When Mrs. Linde asks Nora if he ever reveals her secret about the loan, Nora shows her awareness of Torvald’s real attitude to her as to a beautiful doll, which has to amuse him: “Yes – some day, perhaps, after many years, when I am no longer as pretty as I am now. Don’t laugh at me! I mean, of course, when Torvald is no longer as devoted to me as he is now; when my dancing and dressing-up and reciting have palled on him then it may be a good thing to have something in reserve.” (Act One)


As the play starts, Nora makes an impression of a weak and powerless woman, whose life is fully devoted to her family life, while Torvald seems to be the personification of power and domination. Their relations are set against the life story of Mrs. Linde, who at first denied her strong love to gain power and financial security. But by the end of the play the situation changes, Nora finds herself and her individuality although loses her love, and Mrs. Linde turns back to her true feelings. The problems shown with the help of characters’ interaction are not resolved by the author. Ibsen demonstrates the conflicts, but does not give any ways out. He just offers the possibilities, offering the readers and spectators to find their own viewpoint and solution.

Related article: “My Ideal Wife


Ibsen H. (1991) A Doll’s House, Tram. W. Archer. London






Free Essays

Doctor in the House

Text Analysis “Doctor in the House” (Richard Gordon) 1. The author of the story is Richard Gordon. It is the pen name used by Gordon Ostlere (born Gordon Stanley Ostlere on 15 September 1921), an English surgeon and anesthetist. As Richard Gordon, Ostlere has written numerous novels, screenplays for film and television and accounts of popular history, mostly dealing with the practice of medicine. He is most famous for a long series of comic novels on a medical theme starting with Doctor in the House, and the subsequent film, television, radio and stage adaptations.

His The Alarming History of Medicine was published in 1993, and he followed this with The Alarming History of Sex. 2. The literary piece under consideration is fiction, prose fiction, short story. 3. Setting of the story. Geographical location – England, London ( the events take place in St, Swithin’s hospital which is historically located in England, London); Time – the late 1940s Social environment – middle class, students. Atmosphere – tense, psychologically difficult. 4. Theme of the story – examination period as a driving force for a psychological and emotional students’ tension. 5.

Point of view – the 1st person point of view (“I walked down the stairs feeling as if I had just finished an eight-round fight…” or “I stood before table four. I didn’t recognize the examiners. ”) 6. The composition: Character sketch 7. 1. Richard Gordon is the main character of the story. He plays the central role in the story so we may call him a protagonist. I consider him to be a flat (simple) character, because Richard has only several personal traits. The author characterizes Richard both directly and indirectly. He is a static, because Gordon remains the same throughout the story. Direct presentation:

Richard Gordon was born in 1921. He has been an anesthetist at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, a ship’s surgeon and an assistant editor of the British Medical Journal. He left medical practice in 1952 and started writing. Indirect presentation: * Hard-working student. Example: Benskin discovered that Malcolm Maxworth was the St. Swithin’s representative on the examining Committee and thenceforward we attended all his ward rounds, standing at the front and gazing at him like impressionable music enthusiasts at the solo violinist. * Intelligent. Example: “How would you treat a case of tetanus? ” My heart leaped hopefully.

This was smth I knew, as there had recently been a case at St. Swithin’s. I started off confidentially, reeling out the lines of treatment and feeling much better. “Pass” he murmured. * Careful, attentive, observant. Example: There were six other candidates waiting to go in with me, who illustrated the types fairly commonly seen in viva waiting-rooms. There was the Nonchalant…Next to him a man of Frankly Worried class…There was the Crammer, the Old Stager. The other occupant of the room was a woman…But the girl had given care to her preparations for the examination…I felt sure she would get through.

About half-way through the anonymous examinees began to differentiate themselves. Some of them strode up for an extra answer book, with an awkward expression of self-consciousness and superiority on their faces. Others rose to their feet, handed in there papers and left… * Impressionable. Example: The days after the viva were black ones. It was like having a severe accident. For the first few hours I was numbed, unable to realize what had hit me. Then I began to wonder if I would ever make a recovery and win through. My palms were as wet as sponges.

My pulse shot in my ears. My face was burning hot and I felt my stomach had been suddenly plucked from mu body. The world stood still. The traffic stopped, the plants ceased growing, men were paralyzed, the clouds hung in the air, the winds dropped, the tides disappeared, the sun halted in the sky. 7. 2. The plot of the story. The composition of this text consists of the following components: The exposition contains the general information about students’ attitude to the final examinations and the way of preparation for this important event..

Narration, when the author describes passing the examinations, written paper and viva, candidates’ excitement and suspense of the results. The   tension reaches its highest degree when poor Gordon almost believes in his fail. And the climax, when the Author describes how the Secretary of the Committee calls out Gordon’s name, because in that moment we become interested in his results, does he pass or fail. The author deliberately postpones the denouement keeping the reader in pressing anticipation. It   comes in the last paragraph, when he hears the magic word “Pass”. 7. 3.

The type of speech. It is the narration ( “I walked down the stairs feeling as if I had just finished an eight-round fight…” or “I stood before table four. I didn’t recognize the examiners. ”) with elements of dialogue ( ““How did you get on? ” I asked. “So-so” he replied. “However, I’m not worried. They never read…”) and a great number of descriptive passages (“The examination began with the writing papers. A single invigilator sat in his gown and hood on a raised platform to keep an eye open for flagrant cheating. He was helped by two or three uniformed porters…” or “One minute to twelve.

The room had suddenly come to a frightening, unexpected silence and stillness, like unexploded bomb. A clock tingled…”). 7. Stylistic devices. * Similes – “To a medical student the final examinations are something like death”; “I was shown to a tiny waiting-room furnished with hard chairs, a wooden table, and windows that wouldn’t open, like the condemned cell. ”;“The days after the viva were black ones. It was like having a severe accident. ”;“The room had suddenly come to a frightening, unexpected silence and stillness, like an unexploded bomb. ; “they are a straight contest between himself and the examiners, conducted on well-established rules for both, and he goes at them like a prize-fighter”; “Benskin discovered that Malcolm Maxworth was the St. Swithin’s representative on the examining Committee and thenceforward we attended all his ward rounds, standing at the front and gazing at him like impressionable music enthusiasts at the solo violinist”; * Allusion – Bible’s judgment day * Hyperboles – ” But the viva is judgment day. A false answer and the od’s brow threatens like imminent thunderstorm. ” * Repetition of sound [s] -” The room had suddenly come to a frightening, unexpected silence and stillness, like an unexploded bomb. A clock tingled twelve in the distance. My palms were as wet as sponges. Someone coughed, and I expected the windows to rattle. With slow scraping feet that could be heard before they appeared the Secretary and the porters came solemnly down the stairs. The elder porter raised his voice. ” * Parallels constructions – “The world stood still.

The traffic stopped, the plants ceased growing, men were paralyzed, the clouds hung in the air, the winds dropped, the tides disappeared, the sun halted in the sky. ” * Metaphor – “judgment day”; “slink miserably out of the exit to seek the opiate oblivion”; * Exaggeration – “My palms were as wet as sponges… The windows were rattling… My pulse shot in my ears… The world stood still”. 8. The main idea of the text is that the examination is nothing more than an investigation of man’s knowledge. The idea: the final examinations are reason for a great psychological pressure and a real challenge for the students.

Free Essays

Houses as Motif: Kate Chopins the Awakening

Houses as Motifs in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening Linda Catte Dr. Kathryn Warren ENGL 2329: American Literature March 22, 2012 (KateChopin. org. ) (Krantz’s Grand Isle Hotel Picture of painting by Tracy Warhart Plaisance) (Reflechir: Vol. 1. Les images des prairies tremblantes: 1840-1940 by Cheniere Hurricane Centennial Committee) It is not new or unique that an individual is looking for one’s purpose and meaning in life. Nor is it unique that men and women imitate the norms of society. In Kate Chopin’s novella, The Awakening, Edna Pontellier, the antagonist, knocked against the societal norms of the late 1800’s.

Houses represent Edna’s search for her inner self. The houses which Chopin uses in The Awakening come in pairs which contrast each other. Chopin uses the bird cage and the bath-house to illustrate imprisonment and freedom. The house on Grand Isle and the small house on the Cheniere Island represent restlessness and awareness. The grand house on Esplanade Street in New Orleans and the small house located just around the corner demonstrate confinement and control in contrast with freedom and independence. Each house brings to light different aspects of Edna’s personality as she searches for her inner soul and finds new awakenings along the way.

As various houses are presented by Chopin, each will provide insight into Edna’s search for meaning in her life. In order to better understand Edna’s state of mind as Chopin begins The Awakening, the norms of society needs an explanation. Mr. Leonce Pontellier demonstrates characteristics of a husband who fits the societal norm of 1899 when The Awakening (Chopin) was written. Behaviors by Leonce are displayed in the opening chapter of Chopin’s novella. There are bird cages with a talking parrot and a singing mockingbird, hanging on the porch of the main house at Grand Isle. “Mr.

Pontellier, unable to read his newspaper with any degree of comfort, arose with an expression and an exclamation of disgust. ” (Chopin, ch. 1) Leonce had the freedom to walk away from an irritation and find solace elsewhere. “Mr. Pontellier had the privilege of quitting their society when they ceased to be entertaining. ” (Chopin, ch. 1) The bird cage represents imprisonment, the birds represents how individuals in society mimic what is repeated over and over. Although every word is not equally understood and interpreted by all, the words still have a meaning. (http://office. microsoft. com/en-us/images)

Edna and Leonce were interpreting different meanings from what society expected. Edna had the burden of imprisonment because of the societal norm. Leonce had flexibility and freedom. He was a businessman with a wife and family that was expected to behave in such a manner that would exhibit appearances of a proper marriage and family. An illustration of Leonce’s attitude is revealed in Chapter One of Chopin’s book, a few specific examples are, “…looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property …,” “…perhaps he would return for the early dinner and perhaps he would not. and “If it was not a mother’s place to look after children, whose on earth was it? He himself had his hands full with his brokerage business. ” Leonce viewed himself as important, the roles of society were rigid and fixed in his eyes, and certainly to his advantage. (http://office. microsoft. com/en-us/images) Edna did not have the freedom to detach herself as her husband did from unwanted annoyances. Her escape to the bath-house provided as much freedom as Edna could possess at the time. “…had no intention of bathing; they had just strolled down to the beach for a walk and to be alone and near the water. (Chopin, ch. 7) Lounging at the bath-house on the beach with her friend, Madame Ratignolle, is when Edna realized realities about her marriage and children. Her life was now somewhat predetermined because of her own rash decision to marry Leonce out of rebellion against her father and sister Margaret. “Add to this the violent opposition of her father and her sister Margaret to her marriage with a Catholic, and we need seek no further for the motives which led her to accept Monsieur Pontellier for her husband. ” (Chopin, ch. ) She desired passion as expressed in her daydreams prior to marriage, “It was when the face and figure of a great tragedian began to haunt her imagination and stir her senses. The persistence of the infatuation lent it an aspect of genuineness. The hopelessness of it colored it with the lofty tones of a great passion. ” (Chopin, ch. 7) But she had no passion in her life. “As the devoted wife of a man who worshiped her, she felt she would take her place with a certain dignity in the world of reality, closing the portals forever behind her upon the realm of romance and dreams. ” (Chopin, ch. 7) (http://office. icrosoft. com/en-us/images) Marriage did not bring fulfillment or satisfaction to Edna’s life, nor did being a mother. “She would sometimes gather them passionately to her heart; she would sometimes forget them. ” (Chopin, ch. 7) When her children were away with their grandmother, they were not missed by their mother. “Their absence was a sort of relief, though she did not admit this, even to herself. It seemed to free her of a responsibility which she had blindly assumed and for which Fate had not fitted her. ” (Chopin, ch. 7) What mother forgets her children and does not miss them when they are gone?

Edna was searching for meaning in her life, she wanted happiness. (http://office. microsoft. com/en-us/images) (http://www. loyno. edu/~kchopin/Album10. html) Vacationing at the house on Grand Isle is where Edna’s dissatisfaction with her own life is brought to the reader’s attention by Chopin. “An indescribable oppression, which seemed to generate in some unfamiliar part of her consciousness, filled her whole being with a vague anguish. It was like a shadow, like a mist passing across her soul’s summer day. It was strange and unfamiliar; it was a mood. ” (Chopin, ch. ) Leonce’s role as a husband was unchanging, “…her husband’s kindness and a uniform devotion which had come to be tacit and self-understood. ” (Chopin, ch. 1) Spending her summer vacation with the Creoles opened Edna’s eyes to a whole new society. “A characteristic which distinguished them and which impressed Mrs. Pontellier most forcibly was their entire absence of prudery. ” (Chopin, ch. 4) Edna had been raised in a strict religious Presbyterian home by her father. (Chopin, ch. 22) Edna’s new acquaintances stirred new thoughts, there was an inner conflict within her.

Unspoken expectations were present for societal norms to be followed for a devoted wife and mother, those like her new friend Adele Ratignolle. Edna longed to be her own person, depart from what is expected of her and discover what or who makes her happy. As more and more of Edna’s days were spent together with another new friend, Robert, she missed him when he was not around. “She missed him the days when some pretext served to take him away from her, just as one misses the sun on a cloudy day without having thought much about the sun when it was shining. ” (Chopin, ch. 0) Mademoiselle Reisz impacted Edna, it started when she heard her play the piano at the grand party in the main house on Grand Isle. “Edna was what she herself called very fond of music. ” (Chopin, ch. 9) As she heard the chords, she would envision in her mind what each piece of music was saying to her. But with Mademoiselle Reisz, it was different. Her emotional response was something she had never experienced. “The very first chords which Mademoiselle Reisz struck upon the piano sent a keen tremor down Mrs. Pontellier’s spinal column. ” (Chopin, ch. 9) It was the exact emotion in which she was searching. But the very passions themselves were aroused within her soul, swaying it, lashing it, as the waves daily beat upon her splendid body. ” (Chopin, ch. 9) It was that night Edna learned to swim; it was that night she did not do exactly what her husband asks of her. (Chopin, ch. 10) It was the house on Grand Isle that first awakened Edna to new thoughts and feelings. (http://www. loyno. edu/~kchopin/cheniere. htm) The next morning, Edna and Robert went to Cheniere Island. Edna’s behavior and attitude began to transform. She took steps of boldness by sending for Robert to go with her to Cheniere. She had never sent for him before. ” (Chopin, ch. 12) On the boat ride to the island, Edna felt a sense of freedom, “…felt as if she were being borne away from some anchorage which had held her fast, whose chains had been loosening-…” (Chopin, ch. 12) She began to daydream of a life where she was alone with Robert. She shared this imagined world with him as her flirtation intensified. (Chopin, ch. 12) When they reached the island, they fulfilled the intended purpose of the trip by attending mass at Our Lady of Lourdes. The freedom Edna had experienced on the boat ride was stripped from her as she sat in the church. …her one thought was to quit the stifling atmosphere of the church and reach the open air. ” (Chopin, ch. 13) It was at this time that Robert took Edna to a small house on the island where she naps and discovers another facet of herself. Once she awakens, she and Robert have dinner outside the small house, the evening approaches, they do not want the day to end. “It was very pleasant to stay there under the orange trees, while the sun dipped lower and lower. (Chopin, ch. 13) Upon their return from Cheniere Island, Edna separates herself so that she can be alone to ponder her escape.

The escape to the little house that gave her a taste of peace and contentment. “She could only realize that she herself-her present self-was in some way different from the other self. ” (Chopin, ch. 13) (http://office. microsoft. com/en-us/images) Upon return to the grand house on Esplanade Street in New Orleans, Edna brought with her disappointment and heartache. She had not planned on Robert’s sudden departure to Mexico. As her life was becoming more self absorbed, she wanted Robert to remain part of her life. She was aware of her infatuation with him and reacted emotionally to his absence. …she had lost that which she had held, that she had been denied that which her impassioned, newly awakened being demanded. ” (Chopin, ch. 15) Being home in the grand house where Leonce displays his possessions with such pride, left Edna feeling trapped and imprisoned. Her summer experience changed how she wanted to live her life. When Leonce was ready for life to be back just like it was before, Edna displayed behaviors of rebellion. She was not going to receive visitors on Tuesday afternoons any longer, she was not going to dress as expected for dinner, and she was not going to lead her life controlled by her husband. Chopin, ch. 17) bb (katechopin. org) Leonce was appalled at Edna’s sudden change in behavior. There were societal norms that were important to Leonce. He did not want their friends to think they did not behave properly. “…people don’t do such things; we’ve got to observe les convenances if we expect to get on and keep up with the procession. ” (Chopin, ch. 17) The Esplanade house represents confinement and control over Edna. With her new found awakenings, she had no desire to return to the ways of her old life. “She resolved never to take another step backward. ” (Chopin, ch. 7) Her thoughts remained with Robert. “She had tried to forget him, realizing the inutility of remembering. But the thought of him was like an obsession, ever pressing itself upon her. ” (Chopin, ch. 13) (katechopin. org) Edna moved forward with confidence but still did not find the independence she was desiring. Leonce found her behavior “…odd, she’s not like herself. ” (Chopin, ch. 22) “Her whole attitudetoward me and everybody and everything-has changed. ” (Chopin, ch. 22) Leonce had concerns about his wife but left her alone upon the advice of Doctor Mandelet. He moved forward with his own (katechopin. rg) life and took a business trip to New York. Edna thought she might miss him , but found “…a radiant peace settled upon her when she at last found herself alone. ” (Chopin, ch. 24) Her children were in Iberville with their grandmother. But this peace was short lived. She still did not have Robert. She looked to activities and relationships to find fulfillment in her life. But none provided the contentment and satisfaction she desired. (Chopin, ch. 25) While Leonce was away, Edna made a spontaneous and rash decision , while on a visit with Mademoiselle Reisz, to move into her own house. (Chopin, ch. 6) The small house was located just around the corner from their home on Esplanade Street. “It looks so cozy, so inviting and restful…I’m tired looking after that big house. It never seemed like mine, anyway-like home. ” (Chopin, ch. 26) It was this small house where Edna was certain she would find peace and happiness. She would find what this cozy house represents, “freedom and independence. ” (Chopin, ch. 26) Each house Chopin uses as a motif brings to light different aspects of Edna’s personality as she searches for her inner soul. Each house brings new awakenings for Edna along the way.

Each house represents her search for meaning in life. “No longer was she content to ‘feed upon opinion’ when her own soul had invited her. ” (Chopin, ch. 32) But Edna was unable to satisfy her soul. She wanted more than anyone or anything could give her. She wanted passion, she wanted Robert. When Robert left for Mexico, it was out of his love and respect for Edna that he could not stay. When he left the small house, it was, again, out of his love and respect for Edna that he must leave. It was Adele Ratignolle who reminded Robert in the beginning of The Awakening (Chopin) of his behavior as a gentleman. If your attentions to any married women here were ever offered with any intention of being convincing, you would not be the gentleman we all know you to be, and you would be unfit to associate with the wives and daughters of the people who trust you. ” (Chopin, ch. 1) Edna did not have the wisdom to understand Robert’s rejection of her. She lived selfishly. “Conditions would some way adjust themselves, she felt; but whatever came, she had resolved never again to belong to another than herself. ” (Chopin, ch. 26) This statement confirms that Edna’s soul would not be found with Robert. She was aware of her own emptiness. There came over her the acute longing which always summoned into her spiritual vision the presence of the beloved one, overpowering her at once with a sense of unattainable. ” (Chopin, ch. 30) (http://office. microsoft. com/en-us/images) The emptiness Edna experienced after Robert’s departure left her hopeless. “Despondency had come upon her there in the wakeful night, and had never lifted. There was no human being whom she wanted near her except Robert: and she even realized that the day would come when he, too, and the thought of him would melt out of her existence, leaving her alone. (Chopin, ch. 39) It was when Edna stood before the ocean that she knew her future. “The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude. ” (Chopin, ch. 39) The only answer to free Edna’s soul was to enter the sea. Freedom would come only in death. There was no turning back to the empty life which only brought despair, heartache and loneliness. The true love, passion, and happiness she envisioned for her life had escaped her. Robert brought a glimpse of the future Edna had envisioned.

But that future was not for Edna. In the ocean, naked and without any confinement around her , was she was able to find home. (http://office. microsoft. com/en-us/images) Citations: Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. 1899. www. amazon. com/Kindle-eReader-eBook Retrieved on January 14, 2011. http://www. katechopin. org http://office. microsoft. com/en-us/images http://www. loyno. edu/~kchopin/Album10. html Reflechir: Vol. 1. Les images des prairies tremblantes: 1840-1940 by Cheniere Hurricane Centennial Committee.

Free Essays

Customer Service and Data Warehouse

Liu, An Chi (Allison) #20, Truong, Dominic #31 Tseng, Chun Yao (Gary) #33, Wang, Wei (Chloe) #35 Wang, Zhuoqun (Mask) #36, Zhang, Tao (Kevin) #48 Professor Kim MGT 205 Assignment #5: IT’s About Business 3. 2 1. Why was it necessary for the Isle of Capri Casinos to develop a data warehouse? The Isle of Capri Casinos experienced challenges in the geographical location of their properties as well as their diverse clientele. This made it very difficult for the publicly traded gaming company to segment customers and to establishing an inclusive brand image.

With that, the company caters to a variety of customers in Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado, and Florida. They found the past Customer Relationship Management (CRM) model to have generalized their customer view, thus initiating a need for a ‘single view of the business and the customer’. This new database warehouse method would enhance their competitive strategy by encouraging continuous guest relationships and surpassing guests’ needs and expectations in terms of atmosphere. 2. Describe the variety of benefits that the Isle realized from its data warehouse.

There are many benefits for Isle in the development of their new data warehouse. Firstly, the system quickly and conveniently allowed the company to establish segmentation within the market. The system identified segments centered on the number of visits, which ultimately determined the level of offers and values. Eg. Company researchers determined that players who visit four times a month required an alternative incentive package that those who visited once a month. The company was also able to interpret the data generated by the warehouse to develop information for market experiments.

The series of segmentations allowed for cross tabulation within customers— Who stayed at least two or three times? Who gamed and who didn’t? How much did staying in a hotel affect customer’s gaming activity? The determination of these experiments created business opportunities within demographics of consumers. One study showed that local customers ‘game more’ when they stay in the casino hotel. Through this experiment, a local promotion was established to encourage customers to stay one free night.

In turn, this proved to be profitable in the precision of their targeted offers, consequently motivating customers to visit the company’s casino locations. Lastly, another benefit from the database warehouse was in the strategic determination of slots and game locations. The company could enhance revenue and profit by strategically placing new games and machines based on past behaviors from high-value players. All in all, the data warehouse serves as a valuable resource for market analysis and customer segmentation.

Free Essays

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

The play “A doll’s house” is written by Henrik Ibsen and was adapted into a film in 1973. It deals with gender discrimination in the Victorian age. It highlights specifically the paths women of the West have treaded to find respect and equality. Ibsen makes it possible to imagine the barbarities that existed within the law and society of those times. Through the years, controversial writings like these, have intentionally or unintentionally forced women to rise up and reclaim their rightful legal and civil rights.

In the Victorian Period law dictated that property; children and income belonged solely to men. Divorce or Separation was unthinkable. Women who worked were frowned upon by society. Their status was equivalent to the slaves, criminals or the insane. The main role of a woman was to reproduce children, keep the house clean, and feed the children while their husbands worked.

It is sad that although women in the developed world have found equal rights in this century through various equal rights acts and amendments however the women of the developing world still lack basic rights and struggle everyday between gender power relationships.

The entire film takes place at Mr. and Mrs. Torvald Helmer’s Apartment. The film is set in Norway in the late 1800’s during Christmas time. This one room shows various shades of hypocrisy, discrimination, arrogance and dishonesty exhibited by society. The room is a microscopic vision of the world. It shows the plight and suffering of every woman in every household all around the world. The fact that Nora does not leave the room throughout the film shows how she is entrapped in this Victorian Doll House.

The protagonist of the film is Nora, a Victorian middle class woman. She is ruled by her husband and complete oblivious to her state of unfulfillment. She is thrown into a difficult situation and to protect her husband and family commits forgery. Unaware of the legal consequences she tries dishonestly to obtain a loan. She sits on a puffy pink cloud thinking that her special status would always protect her and her kids in the eye of the state. However, the law expects her to know better.

The hypocrisy of the system hits Nora and she tries to break out of her Victorian Doll like shell. She desires a life less frivolous, so she decides to work independently and earn money. She starts enjoying this new found freedom. Her relationship with her husband also spirals downwards and sows the seed of doubt and self reflection.

Ibsen broke boundaries when he ended the original play with Nora rebelling against her husband, her father and ultimately the patriarchal society. However, the controversial ending caused shock and disagreement and forced him to change the ending. He later on lived to regret the change.

The theme of the play made audiences agree that women should get equal pay for equal work; equal rights to enjoy an independent self sufficient life; rights to child custody and divorce; equal stature in legal matters; Equal access to knowledge. It is unfortunate that Victorian times were so suffocating that Nora had to leave her husband or she would continue to be treated as nothing more than a mere rag doll. She was just an inanimate object, dispensable by others and deserved no respect, rights or esteem.

Works Cited Page:

Johnston, Ian. (July 2000). On Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Johnstonia. Retrieved April 3rd 200.

Gillis, G. J. and Westhagen, Jen. SparkNote on A Doll’s House. 2 Apr. 2007 <>.



Free Essays

House on Mango

Have you ever been disappointed by high expectations? Although fulfilling said expectations might not be possible at the time, it is not reason to forfeit or throw in the towel; rather with enough effort these goals may be realized. The expectations set by Esperanza in Sandra Cisneros’s “The House on Mango Street” inevitably leads to disappointment; however fulfilling these dreams is still a possibility despite of its non-actuality. Esperanza lives out unfulfilling life disappointed by the uninspiring house she lives in, a worthless music box, and the dream of eating in the canteen.

Esperanza had hoped for more, even believed in more than what she received; a shabby, broken-down house on Mango Street. The description of the house Esperanza’s parents provide does not go with the reality of the situation leading Esperanza to hope for something that cannot be. Esperanza is disappointed by the lack of stairs, the absence of a yard, the actuality that the house is not the picture perfect house as seen on TV. Although Esperanza is not happy with the house she lives in, she still hopes for a better future despite knowing that her goals will not be met for a very long period of time.

Esperanza faces these unsatisfied dreams with hope still in her heart using the old decrepit house as inspiration to better her future. Additionally, Esperanza faces further disappointment when she visits the junk store and finds something of interest to her. Nenny, Esperanza’s little sister, spots a record player but is unaware of its nature. She discovers that it is a music box and Esperanza’s hopes immediately soar; she longs for a pretty box with flowers painted on the exterior, and a ballerina inside.

This beautiful thought fades away as she discovers that the box is instead just a dusty record player with a brass record that has holes in it, which when played, sounds like a cacophony of moths. The hope she had been given was crushed. The canteen is her dream of eating lunch is not fulfilled, so once again her heart is overwhelmed by disappointment. Esperanza believes the kids who eat there are special and important. Esperanza expended much effort to convincing her mother to grant her permission to eat at the canteen fully believing the experience would be every bit as extravagant as she imagined.

These beliefs are completely dismantled by the harassment Esperanza receives from a nun; Esperanza ends up eating her then cold food in solitude. Her dream of eating in the canteen portrays yet another instance in which Esperanza is brought down due to the predispositions she has no control over; these wretched experiences do not ultimately limit Esperanza’s ability to succeed in the future. The addition of this photo is crucial to displaying how disappointment is an unavoidable factor of life.

In viewing the above image, an image irrelevant to the subject, one who reads this paper, may be disappointed; however this disappointment does not limit the capacity of the reader to read the following text. Failure to have the specific criteria that one longs for may be uncontrollable much like an alien invasion in the Jurassic period, and such is life; the key is to keep moving forward and keep fighting on even in the face of Armageddon. The scientist running experiments in a lab often comes upon errors in procedure, wrong answers to questions asked. A boxer throws many, many blows at his opponent, and the boxer misses most of those blows.

Esperanza longs so much for a life she cannot lead because of her upbringing, but this does not stop her from hoping. These trails all lead to disappointment and failure. Esperanza doddles on the harsh realities of her life at the time, disappointed with the situation presented to her; although the disappointment she holds for her life is based on factors she has no control of it forms no real barrier in terms of what is possible. Disappointment is an inevitable factor of living and it must therefore be felt but never looked on as being told what can and cannot be done.

Free Essays

Dynamic Open House

Running head: Team 2: DYNAMIC OPEN HOUSE Team 2: Dynamic Open House Project Design Approach – WIN 508 Team 2: Michael Beaton John G. Bell Scott Traynor Antioch University Seattle Table of Contents Introduction3 Design Process3 Designer-Client Conversations4 Design Elements7 Room Use – Program Dividers and Breakout Rooms7 Presentation – PowerPoint and Video10 Graphics – Large Scale and Flyers13 Other design elements17 Introduction The Center for Creative Change (C3) periodically puts on an “Open House”.

The Open House is a 2-hour presentation to prospective graduate students, to both answer their questions and to excite them about the opportunity that C3 provides. While the current Open House is adequate there is a sense that it is could be better. Toward this goal, the clients have engaged the design team to facilitate the development of ideas that will reinvigorate the Open House presentation. As clients, Wendy Olsen and Farouk Seif represent C3 and Antioch. Design Team2 is comprised of John Bell, Scott Traynor and Michael Beaton.

The team met twice with the Wendy Olsen and once with Farouk. The clients and the design team used collaboration and lively discussion to develop design goals, criteria and constraints. The design team used these goals, criteria and constraints to develop the following proposal. Design Process The design team worked to identify characteristics of the current Open House through conversations with the clients about the Open House, the design team’s own student experience and focus groups that had been conducted in a previous quarter.

Elements of the existing Open House and of the Antioch experience were taken as examples from which specific qualities could be discerned. These specific qualities were goals, criteria and constraints that the design team explored during the design process. The design team entered the collaborative process with an experiential, ethnographic approach. Designer-Client Conversations During our conversations we explored the open house as it currently is presented as a basis for inquiring into the intent and purpose of the Open House.

Two overall design elements, that inform our entire project, were derived. These are information and excitement. Information The open house should provide information. The primary way this would be done is to anticipate questions and attempt to develop design elements that best supported that purpose. Another aspect of providing information that is often overlooked is to help participants develop and articulate new questions they may not have known to ask. In many cases it will not be possible to answer all the questions for each student in the 2 hours available for the Open House.

It is important to provide direction on how to get answers to those questions. Excitement An important goal of the open house is to general excitement for the participants. The potential students should be excited about Antioch and the opportunity to enroll. Further, the faculty and staff should be excited by the chance to do something worthwhile during the open house presentation. Constraints The design team identified several constraints • Time – The open house happens on a single day, in the same week as other presentations.

There must be some activity for the 2 hours scheduled. Activities before and after are possible. • Place – The open house happens at Antioch, in room 100. Some open house presentations use breakout rooms. • Budget – There is not unlimited funds. There are funds available for ‘one time’ expenses. There are additional C3 specific funds available, as well as the budget provided by the University itself. Criteria • The presentation must feature C3 as a whole as well as provide information about the specific degree and certificate programs available. Service as marketing • Concise • Linking / framework / themes • The open house should give the participants an idea of what they would experience as a student. Desired Outcome From conversations with the clients, the implied purpose of the Open House is to present enough information so attendees are able to • get their questions answered, or have the resources to do so. • decide if Antioch is the school for them • filter out those for whom Antioch would not be a good fit. • “Present the C3 program for what it is” The overall event is a marketing event – this needs to be kept in mind – the desired outcome is excitement in the attendees so the right people are motivated to apply. Design Elements We developed several elements, three of which we will particularly highlight, and several which we have included in this proposal. These design elements have been used to develop a proposed agenda for a dynamic open house that creatively fulfills the requirements articulated by the client. Further iterative dialogue would provide the finishing touches to the proposal. Room Use – Program Dividers and Breakout Rooms

In order to address the constraint of time and the quantity of information that needs to be presented we suggest reorganizing the presentation into three separate rooms. The intent of this is to allow the “main stage” to present the most critical information while offloading other information to other rooms. This addresses the issues of presenting the most interesting and essential information, supporting the goal of maintaining audience interest, while still having all the information available and allowing us a more effective use of the time. – Break the presentation into 3 main spaces/rooms Maximize information presentation in the time frame allowed o Creating multiple places for participants to move – allowing choice in how to get information and questions answered o Offload less essential information from the main presentation to maximize the effectiveness of the time for the essential information. ? Do more with less time ? Allow for different approaches to communicating the information. I. e. not just lecture or passive participation – Main Room o Main presentation. o Incorporate wall posters – or hang from ceiling in space. ? To help bracket the room.

Create a more intimate space ? Surround the screen with the program information. See Below. o Program Tables ? Arrange the tables that facilitates ease of movement around the information • Allow for 3-4 staff to comfortably be in each program location. • Staff the program table with a Faculty member, student, Alumni, and possibly someone representing the work community. o This supports the idea of having information and resources available to address the student at each stage. I. e. : Pre Student Life as a student Post Graduate Work. ? Add a back panel at each program desk Like a cubical divider panel. • Creates a defined space for the program. Creates a different space than simply a desk. • A place to present art and other information unique to the program • Lighting on each panel. o Highlight the program information o To make the space more inviting than the ambient fluorescent room lighting. o Add a concierge person to handle the logistics of scheduling appointments ? Wendy indicated that sometimes she gets too involved in logistical details when she should be circulating throughout the room making sure each attendee is getting their needs met. This also supports the notion of providing attendees students with a next step while they are in the room. – Media Break Out room o Create a looping power point presentation o Possibly a looping movie. The idea being to have a place where interesting information is being presented in a multimedia forum where participants can come and go at leisure. Content of this presentation could include faculty interviews, a deeper history of the university, perhaps in depth interviews with employers and clients of Antioch graduates. – Experiential Room o Place where participants can experience Antioch as a student ?

Interactive ? Sample of a class or lecture (each less than 15mintues ? Life as a Student ? Case Study Presentation ? Change Project Presentation ? Allowing for easy in and out movement. The overall idea behind these three rooms is to have a layout and relationship between the rooms that are compelling/inviting to for participants to want to visit. It should be easy to move in and out of these various rooms. This means that participants should feel comfortable entering or leaving these rooms at various intervals that allow for their participation in other activities.

One way to facilitate this would be to have the looping media be short enough that there are opportunities to join or leave. Other activities in the experiential room should have structural breaks such that one would not feel rude entering or leaving at some frequent interval. Presentation – PowerPoint and Video In the existing open house, most of the content that fills out the structure is fluid. The static content is comprised of a PowerPoint presentation and a video. Therefore, these are the point when the most consistent information is provided.

Any changes to the open house must preserve this function or find another method to provide consistent information. During our meetings with the client, we identified that the PowerPoint presentation currently contains a very important element. The video interview with an employer is an element to which many participants pay close attention. Any changes to the open house must preserve this element or devise another method for developing the same combination of excitement about possibilities and information about life after graduation from an Antioch program.

The team identified several overlaps in content in the PowerPoint and video. There was video in the PowerPoint, even though there was already a video component to the presentation. The PowerPoint presentation also included elements that were repeated in other parts of the overall program, such as quotes from students. Furthermore, the quotes from students in the PowerPoint are flashed on the screen and the audience is left to read them individually, which is less exciting and engaging than other opportunities for communicating with current students.

The design team approached the PowerPoint presentation with special care. As a group we are especially sensitive to the way that such presentations are often misused as a primary focus instead of being an aid to the presenter. Our group’s observations of the status quo open house included points where the participants were asked to read the slides themselves, where the presenter merely read the slide aloud and where the slides did not appear to fulfill the intention of providing information and generating excitement about Antioch.

Each slide was examined for intent. This intent was then used to evaluate if the slide fulfilled the purpose it was created. The design team determined that the presentation could be both shorter and richer in content. One of the elements that we have enhanced overall in the dynamic open house proposal is the collateral information provided. Some of this will be described in the next section, but we determined that the place for information about the overall structure of C3, and the framework for the course schedule is in the PowerPoint presentation.

We want to highlight the section of the presentation on which we focused the most. The design team and clients together recognized that there were a number of topics of overall C3 design that were not being communicated as well as they could be. In our meetings, we determined that very little was being said about the case study, change project and thesis. Further, the relationship between then classes was not being shown. The design team took the class schedule slides as a primary place where re-design could help with the overall goals of the open house.

We developed a new, more dynamic, way to display the 2-year program that highlights the themes of the quarters: The new design also displays links between the classes and the primary projects of the degree, such as linking RP1 to the case study and connecting the classes that are components of the 1st certificate: The video interview with an employer consistently draws the attention of the participants. In our conversation, we were able to abstract from this specific instance the need to highlight what graduates of the Center’s programs do after graduating.

In the previous design element we paid particular attention to increasing the chance for participants to interact with alumni, employers and RP2 host site representatives. We further support this by including alumni at each degree table. Graphics – Large Scale and Flyers During our conversation with the client we have also identified that there are important elements to the whole student career that are not well represented. There is a framework of relationships between the classes that is not well expressed by the current materials.

These interconnections are an important element of information that can be provided, but is not currently well represented. Further, a well-developed and concise presentation of the framework for the student experience is likely to increase participant excitement for the program as a whole. In focus groups, the interdisciplinary, collaborative nature of the program is often mentioned as important for current students. Further, presenting the whole, instead of just components, in the presentation will model a primary element of the Antioch experience: Wholism.

The client also stated that there have been times with participants would want to see the Power Point Presentation again for more details. This process is very time consuming and requires a staff member to focus a large amount of time to one participant. We suggest one new design and a redesign of existing visual aids. The new design would be a wall mounted poster listing the quarters and classes needed for completion for the C3 Program. This poster should be large enough to see from any where in the room.

It would act as a visual aid when explaining each phase of curriculum, including the classes, case study, change project, Thesis, Certificates, Caucus, Reflective Practicum and the themes for each quarter. This would allow multiple people to view the poster at the same time and free up one staff member. Our next suggestion is to improve the flyers that we currently have and redesign them. Our team identified several improvements that were identified in conversations with our client. We would suggest the following flyers (see appendix for examples): •Center for Creative Change •Whole Systems Design Management •Environment and Community •Organizational Psychology •Graduate Certificates •History of Antioch •Frequently Asked Questions •Case Study & Change Project The C3, WSD, GMP, ENC, and OPP would all have the same information about the first year of classes including RP1, Caucus and the Core Courses. They would also list the requirements for the Case Study and the themes for each quarter. The rest of the flyer will list program specific information including sample of classes that are required. They will have information related to alumni and where you might go after completing this program.

The Graduate Certificate Flyer will have information related to these programs, including alumni and what benefits you might gain by having these certificates Our client specifically talked about the lack of information they have about the history of Antioch. The history is rich and very worthy to share with the participants. This flyer should address that information the client would like to share. While each program could include an FAQ tailored to fit their flyer, we feel that there are common questions being asked across the programs. This flyer should address those FAQ as well as information about the school.

This flyer should/could go hand in hand with the C3 flyer. Information tailored to fit the entire C3 program. One of the main topics not discussed in detail is the Case Study and Change Project. In our conversations with the client, we also determined that little emphasis is placed on the case study and the change project during the entire open house. These are important elements of information, and likely to be the catalyst for excitement from the participants about the program as a whole. in focus groups, the practical component is one element than many current students cite as important in their decision to attend the university.

Proposed Agenda An agenda for the evening should be prominently posted. This provides context for the experience and also will help to simulate the experience of the participants as Antioch students. The design team has combined the design elements into a program for the evening. Other design elements Playing with the constraints of time and place, this design team was able to develop several ideas that met the criteria of the open house in other formats. Antioch TV One way to generate excitement about Antioch and to develop a conduit for information about what Antioch is like for students would be to develop alternate delivery methods.

For example, some Universities provide lectures via local cable or as videos that can be ordered. Presenting this first as a service to the community provides marketing as a benefit. Alternate Weekend Classes for the Community Highlighting the notion that service to the community is marketing, the design team developed the notion that C3 could offer 1-credit classes to the community on a weekend that alternated from residencies. This would provide many of the experiential, interactive elements to familiarize participants with what it is to be an Antioch student as well as performing an intrinsically good service for the community.

C3 might find that this alternate weekend becomes an important part of emergent services to itself. One option would be to provide experiential labs that were optional components for students able to enroll without requiring out of town students to be on campus outside of residency weekends. This could become a bridge between providing low-residency programs and more intensely engaging programs for those willing and able. Another related notion is to provide lectures before the open house, which are part of the overall program, but not absolutely linked.

After developing this notion, the design team was informed by the clients that this had been done on at least one occasion in the past. Other graphics and Packet information In order to give the prospective student better idea of what Antioch is about we propose that the information that is available include: ? FAQ Sheet o A page or two that has essential information, phone numbers, perhaps dates and times, along with recurring questions that arise in these sessions and in even in private meetings with advisors. Class Syllabus o To give the prospective student an idea of what the classes are about. They do not have to be the most current. o Maybe have them at each program table. ? Case Study and Change Projects o Illustrating some of the work that students actually do. o Invite students to practice or repeat symposium presentations ? “Life after Antioch” o i. e. , job placement study, salary surveys, employer testimonials, student/alum testimonials” o see below Alumni Association

Wendy indicated that there is a new position at Antioch specifically tasked to establish relationships with Antioch Alumni. We believe alumni participation in the Open House is critical to the success of the evening. As noted above we propose to integrate alum into the teams that staff the program tables. Additionally it would be useful for Antioch to institute a survey that would garner information about what Antioch graduates do after getting their degree. Wendy indicated more than once that the section where the employer talks in the current video is where attendees really ‘perk up’.

We think this ‘post-degree’ information should be a focus of the information presented. Specific information that will be useful would be the job sectors graduates move into, perhaps a list of companies that have historically hired graduates, along with some salary survey information. Post Meeting Review Regarding the notion of having materials and the information available to fully address the participants needs it may be useful to have a post meeting debrief session. A review of things that worked, perhaps didn’t work and ways to make adjustments for future presentations.

One thing we hope would come out in these meetings to get a sense of the type of people that are coming to these sessions and the type of questions are being asked. Paying attention to these elements will help keep the system at Antioch open to its potential base of students as well as providing feedback to make the Open House sessions better. Recurring questions or things that the staff find are confusing participants could be addressed in future updates to the FAQ sheet. Where appropriate the information could be added to the Antioch web site as well.

Free Essays

Fall of the House of Usher

“The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allen Poe is a story riddled with deeper meanings than the superficial plot line and analogies to draw. With the first read through, the story seems quite confusing in a sickly twisted sort of way, but upon further reading, it becomes clear that there are meanings hidden deep down in the plot. There are many comparisons that can be made in this story but the most obvious one would be the connection between the lives of the characters and the house in which they dwell.

Poe does a good job at purposely confusing the reader as to whether he is talking about the literal house of Usher or the metaphorical house of Usher. The literal house is described as being in rough condition, with a crack from the top of the house to the bottom. It has tarn around the outside of it and is in a general state of disrepair. As Poe describes how the literal house of usher is nearly ready to crumble, he also speaks of the metaphorical house of Usher. The metaphorical house of usher is also ready to crumble. This is because the house of Usher was inbred, leaving all of its members except two diseased.

Roderick Usher and Madeleine Usher were the only two Ushers left in the line of Ushers, and they were both very ill. Madeleine suffers from fits that render her immobile, and appearing dead. Roderick on the other hand has heightened senses and is acutely aware of every tiny last detail that is happening around him. Both Roderick and Madeleine are on the verge of death and it is only a matter of time who goes first. This can again be related to the literal house of Usher because due to the fissure running down the foundation of the house, it is only a matter of time which side collapses first.

Poe does a good job at creating a sense of claustrophobia in the house by making it seem small and difficult to navigate. He also creates a sense of mental claustrophobia within the narrator by making the narrator unable to get away from the literal and figurative house of Usher. In the end of the story, when Madeleine breaks out of her tomb and kills Roderick, this is the fall of the metaphorical house of Usher, because after this point, there are no more ushers seeing as they have both died.

As soon as the narrator flees the madhouse, this is the fall of the literal house of Usher. Immediately after the narrators departure from the house, the fissure from the top to the bottom of the house enlarges and the house literally collapses. It is clearly seen throughout Poe’s story that both the literal and figurative houses of Usher are meant to have a nearly perfect parallel plot throughout the entire story. The literal house collapses, as does the figurative, and they both collapse in the same way.

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The Haunted House

MiKayla Jones Mrs. Ceballos PAP English 1 – 8 October 30, 2012 The Haunted House This was going to be my best Halloween ever. As I sat in class waiting anxiously for the bell to ring, I began wondering how much fun this is going to be. When Kaitlyn and I arrived at my house we sat around chatting waiting for it to get dark, before we started to trick or treat. As we were putting on our costumes, Kaitlyn had a difficult time putting her alien costume from outer space on because the directions were illegible.

After I was put on my zombie cheerleader costume I noticed it looked a little sully. I didn’t mine because it was Halloween and things are sometimes not very comely. As we heard out the front door my mom jeered loudly and said, “be careful and stay in the neighborhood and don’t make any erratic turns”. I knew we had made a wrong turn when we went trick or treating at this old, run down dissolute house. When we knocked on the door it automatically opened, a heavy wind came out and caused the pumpkins to sing and locked us in.

All of a sudden I slipped on some fudder and something being to tantalizing me, I screamed and held on to Kaitlyn’s hand unflinching, I tried with all my might to fortify myself against the two headed monster, I screeched as loud as a mongoose. The more we fought the more the monsters proliferated. Some were mediocre, the monsters tried to tell us to subjugate but we kept on screaming and fighting until we freed ourselves for a moment.

As we tried to expulsion from the back door a three legged lucretia ghost told us how to get out safely, we thanked the three legged ghost by giving him all of our trick or treat candy to compensate him for being so nice and helping us to escape. I feint that he was as friendly as Casper. Finally, we made it back to my house, I gave a short terse wave to Kailtlyn and she adjourns to her house. This would be one Halloween that I will never forget.

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Desperate Housewives and Its Portrayal

My interviewee, Karen, grew up in the Philippines and has recently just migrated to the United States. She is a 24-year old ESL teacher who admits to pondering over the meaning of life yearly when her birthday is nearing. She was then enthusiastic to sit down with me to answer my questions about the meaning of life.

For Karen, life does have an ultimate purpose or significance. She cites as proof of this belief the fact that bookstores and libraries currently carry a lot of books that help people find the meaning to their lives.

“There has got to be a purpose to our lives. Will authors of self-help and ‘find a purpose in life’ books be raking in a lot of money if people do not think that their life amounts to something? And that’s another thing, actually. People are always in search for a purpose in their lives. This clamor for life to actually mean something is, I think, the ultimate proof that people come packaged with significance in life,” Karen says

Being Catholic, Karen admits to always thinking that her life is meant to have purpose. She explains, “I have always attended Catholic schools where “religion”, specifically Catholic faith, is a constant in our list of subjects. Since pre-school days, my teachers would always emphasize the fact that I am meant to serve God. They always tell me, my classmates, that we should live our lives according to God’s will.”

Asked what God’s will is, she answers, “Exactly what it is, my teachers haven’t actually defined. They did tell me, though, that I need to always be good. I need to be kind to my fellow men. That everything I do should be in accordance to God’s law, which is of course comprised of what the Bible says, what the commandment says, etc. Basically, life’s purpose is to be good and do good so that I will be welcomed in heaven. And in way, I still believe that is the purpose in life. I cannot accept that I’ve been put here on Earth for nothing. Something better must be waiting for me at the end of the line.”

Karen confesses that even though she’s been reared in the Catholic upbringing, there was a time when she felt like serving God was not really her purpose in life. She says that although she believed in the existence of a higher being, she defied the fact that all the laws and commandments she’s been following are all dictated by human beings like her. “Who can say that what the Catholic Church outlined is really the ultimate truth? And that what they’re teaching is not made to serve their own purpose?

And that what they want is also what God wants? I got to think this way when I started taking Philosophy classes in the University. My teachers imparted in me the habit of not taking everything in stride, of questioning everything that is being handed out to me. I also had a class, advertising I think, where the teacher had a great influence on me. He taught us about self-actualization. He always insisted on us trying to make something for ourselves just because we want to be something and not because somebody told us to do. That was the point when I got to question what the Church told me: that everything I do is for His glory,” she quips.

But a few years after her University life, Karen admits that she started to soul-search and she realized that ever since she put God out of her life, her life started to feel meaningless. She explains, “There was this hollow part of me that neither friends nor a high-paying and glamorous job just cannot fulfill. I started to have this feeling that everything I’m doing is for no special reason. When I started to pray and go to Church again, I suddenly felt whole. That’s when I realized what was missing.”

Karen’s opinion regarding the meaning of life was highly-influenced by her faith. Though she came to a point when she asked about the things she has always believed in, she still made a turnaround and accepted what her faith has outlined for her.

Free Essays

The Cider House Rules

TITLE (supplied by the customer): “The Cider House Rules” DESCRIPTION (supplied by the customer): The Doctor offers 2 incongruous services … how can these services coexist? Answer the following questions: What is the moral dilemma posed in the story? A Birth occurs in the story … how does this affect the main character’s view? What happens to change the main characters view? What are the Cider House Rules and what are they a metaphor for? Who broke the Cider House Rules? What is the moral of the story? What does it mean to be the hero of your own life?

What other issues arise in this story that are relevant to the reproductive and overall health? PROJECT DEVELOPED: The Cider House, an orphanage hospital at St. Cloud’s, is one of the two poles or hemispheres the entire plot builds upon. The story poses quite a bit of a challenge to the unsophisticated onlooker’s mindset trained primarily to distinguish between, and judge, the clear black and the clear white. Dr. Larch, one of the central protagonists, is a far more complex profile. It’s not so much about his personality or character as it is about his moral stance. As a licensed physician, he assists at childbirth.

The outside world formally knows him as helping a new life happen. The other side of the man is his second practice amounting to exactly the opposite: abortions, or life taking. He takes life away from infant and totally helpless human beings having little say in their parents decision not to grant them life. It might just be uncomfortable and awkward for these young mothers, pressed by their ambitious husbands, to grant life at this particular point. They are not prepared nor willing to pay that price for their right to have a fulfilling sexual life outside the bonds of marriage.

However, the story is less moralizing than that. The author does not seem disposed to judge the heroes very strictly, because another part of the story is that these are for the most part inexperienced young men and women. They cannot possibly know as yet what’s best for them over the long haul; no wonder their vague yet potent inner drives lead them to mistakes. They have not learned to assume the full responsibility for these mistakes, and they cannot accept the lot these blunders may inflict, early in their lives. Dr. Larch is deeply convinced about his duty to offer services of both kinds.

Moreover, he chooses to hand over his skills to a young and promising disciple, Homer [17-20, 50-54, 78]. The latter has lived in the orphanage his entire life, and one would guess his moral values have largely if not solely been influenced and inspired by Dr. Larch’s example. One wonders just how those polar practices could possibly be compatible, and for that matter conducive to the younger generation’s upbringing. The young person shown early on that abortion is a possibility might likely stick with that option as a quick fix, never minding the longer-term good.

So far, however, we have seen a somewhat superficial picture, and it’s about time we dwelled on the multifaceted truth. Dr. Larch would never actually even consider abortion a way out-if this were a perfect world [56-58, 124]. The wicked world he finds himself surrounded by rules in wicked ways, supplies ugly criteria and makes one resort to interim compromises to secure a greater boon. This world is good at sermonizing when it comes to condemning the young women making mistakes; yet it is also incredibly cynical in calling on them to pay a price they cannot afford.

Of course, we are not talking about the world that Dr. Larch had built-the Cider House. It is governed by ultimate rules that are observed strictly, not because of their tyranny, but because they are a natural moral code of integrity. All the little children living in there are orphans rejected by the wicked world, yet zealously loved by their father [80-110]. No, he is not their biological father-one other criterion of the formalist world, which permits the distorted and destroyed relationships between the native parents and children.

However, his own world’s parameters identify him as their ultimate father. This cozy Cider House world is a tiny spot on earth where children love and respect each other, if only by virtue of the sense of alienation that the other world has cursed them with. Any encounter with the outside world is happy only for one of them: the rest of the kids will not be adopted that soon [84-89]. In fact, the big spotlight in the story is about the two poles or two alternatives facing the protagonists: their Cider home sweet home and the bitter world.

The same applies to the central figure, Homer who is an extremely likable person and a fast learner, soon to become as skilled as his teacher. Yet without a diploma-another anchor of the outside world stressing the form, the superficiality, the illusion over the intrinsic value. Thus far, he has lived in this paradise which has a lot of bliss to offer. Yet, this warm Eden could not possibly offer him the knowledge of good and evil, the knowledge he will have to receive in the outside world. Of course, for now Homer has nothing to compare it with-but soon an episode occurs that changes his life for good.

A young lady, Candy, arrives for abortion accompanied by her boyfriend Wally, which occasion affords Homer a unique chance for exploring the ‘outer space. ‘ [172-215] He might never have unlocked his potential had he stayed ‘home. ‘ It was to be the outside world with its challenges and whims that could offer a learning environment. Homer turned out to be just as fast learner when it came to learning about himself. He proved to be good at human skills, and a fulfilling relationship soon began to evolve between him and Candy while Wally was gone delivering on his duty. 267-270, 320] Wally would come back some day, and Candy would have to choose, which was far from her forte. Indeed, she embodies the image of innocent proneness to mistakes, whereby she had to make a lot of tasting, sampling and trying before she could decide what was right for her. And yet, like the many other young ladies Larch felt sympathy for (and would rather do the abortions than let them die in the butchers hands), she was deserving of the better lot. That experience was a major turning point in Homer’s life. The main development was not that he actually liked the world he saw: far from it.

Yet, when the doctor asked him to come back home where he was needed, loved and waited for (while the outside world had little to offer), it was already a different Homer to heed to those reasons [365]. He knew it was the only chance for him to learn to decide for himself and to take the responsibility. In fact, perhaps he had already long had that critical stance: he would swallow all the skills that Larch had to offer, but he was reluctant to justify abortion [131]. He therefore only had to learn or realize that he had that.

Being the hero of one’s own life might thus amount to standing ready to use the benefit of doubt, reserve the right to mistakes and face up to liabilities. That is by far the only way to really learn doing the right things, which is superior to just doing right things as under a benevolent and wise dictatorship. These mistakes should properly be viewed as a cost attached, which one would eagerly incur if the expected reward were abundant. This, of course, is not to justify the try-it-all approach, though wisdom is earned by learning too.

The moral could thus pertain to the idea that this world is too complex and controversial, for a superficial judgment to suffice. The lesser evil may at times be viewed as a short-term cost or means securing the longer-term ends, provided the course is just. A cost is always attached to major decisions, though one is free to choose between the safe haven and the rough ocean. These are very different testing environments, in which people judge and are judged very differently. Our superficial and hypocritical perception of the doctor might be rather negative at first, yet we come to see another picture on closer examination …

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The Advantages of My Apartment

A new family moving into the Vista community would have a plethora of housing options. There are just so many flashy ads and advertisements around. It can make finding a place to call home a true chore. But as many families have already found out, there are many reasons as to why the apartments in my neighborhood are some of the most sought after in Vista, CA. Especially in comparison to my previous residences such as Marine Corps barracks, my current apartment has many advantages that would make it a wonderful place any family would be proud to call home. First of all, for its size, the apartment is very affordable.

During my 3 months of apartment shopping, I could not find a more sizeable apartment for the price I pay. It is only twelve-hundred dollars per month for two bedrooms and two bathrooms when some other properties charged nearly that price for a studio or single bedroom unit. Also, the rooms in the apartment are very large. We have a large master bedroom, and the guest bedroom is big enough for my wife and I to store all of our extra belongings as well as a twin bed and a computer workstation. In addition to those, my apartment also has an immense amount of storage space.

There are walk-in closets in both bedrooms, extra storage outdoors, and there is even a walk-in pantry in the kitchen. Although, as much of a selling point the size and price were, if not for the great location, we still may have kept searching. Secondly, the apartment is in a great location. For one, it is very close to the business district. We are within a few miles of many grocery stores, shopping centers, movie theatres, and many other attractions. Also, it is within walking distance of several public transportation hubs. The buses and trains at these places travel all over, to San Diego and Los Angeles and everywhere in between.

Another example of the apartments’ great location is that we are close to our friends. We live only minutes away from many of our friends. Furthermore, since we only have 1 vehicle, my wife can always simply call a friend if she needs to run errands or shop, due to the fact that we live so close together, so as not to cause a hassle. Another huge advantage of my apartment is the level of tranquility it retains. A third advantage my apartment has is how tranquil it is. One reason these apartments are so peaceful is the fact that there are no pets. Since pets are not allowed, the apartments are always almost eerily quiet.

This is great because on could sleep however long they want to without being rudely awoken. Also, we do not have to worry about barking or other animal sounds interruption my television watching, music listening or whatever else I may be doing. Another reason for the tranquility of the apartment is due to the face that there are very few young children. This is nice because my wife and I have no children with the other young couples around us. Moreover, we do not have to worry about the cries of little children disturbing us during whatever we may be doing at the time.

Going hand in hand with the tranquility of the apartment though, is how helpful and courteous our neighbors are. A fourth reason my apartment is advantageous is that my neighbors are very courteous and friendly. One example of this is how our neighbors always have helped us when we were in a bind. On one occasion, the battery in my car suddenly died and one of my neighbors unselfishly dropped everything he was doing and drove his car to mine to give my battery a jump start, enabling me to go to the store to buy a new battery.

Also, on many occasions, our neighbors have taken our wet clothes from the community washers and changed them over to the dryers, alleviating us of having to do the task ourselves. In addition to how helpful our neighbors are, they are also quite courteous. As far as the adults around us, while they do listen to music and other things like most, they do not listen to it at absurdly loud levels so as to disturb the people around them. Furthermore, the few children that live around us are obedient and do not cause excessive noise when they play.

But at any rate, even with all these upsides, I would have never chose my current apartment if not for how good and kind the management is. Lastly, an advantage our apartment has is how kind and efficient the management of our apartment is. First off, our management is very kind. They know the tenants by name . Even from the day we first picked up our house keys from the office, the people inside welcomed us by name, which was very reassuring to us. Also, whenever we pass by one of the managers, they always greet us. Though, most importantly to me, the management always address our complaints expediently.

For example, when my wife and I first visited our apartment before we moved in, we had to complete a pre-occupancy checklist. While there were not many discrepancies, the few that we did note were fixed before we even started moving into our new home. Even since then, all of the problems that have arisen in our apartment such as; burnt-out light bulbs, faulty appliances, broken hot water heaters, and so on; were addressed immediately. Finally, at our apartment complex, every tenant has assigned parking spots only for our vehicles. On multiple occasions, I would find other peoples’ cars parked in my spot.

All I needed to do was inform the management of someone in my spot, and the problem was taken care of right away. As you can see, my apartment has a lot going for it. All these reasons like; a good location, the level of tranquility, its’ roominess, the friendliness of the neighbors, and the quality of the management, make for a wonderful neighborhood, and a great place to bring your family home. Now, having been educated, the choice of where to call home should be quite simple. I gladly made mine, and have not regretted it for an instance

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Houses: Shelter to the Physical and Emotional Well-Being

Sandra Cisneros’  “The House on Mango Street” is not just another coming-of-age story; it is also a story that has been written to conquer the personal difficulties of a Latina writer.   Being Latina, she does not have many “Chicano role models” (Klein 21), but she has strived to express herself in writing, nonetheless.  In the 1988 collection of fifty four vignettes, Cisneros makes the narrator, Esperanza, come alive through experiences ultimately caused by being poor, female, and a minority, while giving the house the title role as it encompasses the dreams of families from any race: having a home to call their own.

It is Cisneros’ way of dealing with the issues she herself has faced as a Latina is through her perseverance that they do not remain mere issues (O’Malley 35), but full-blooded experiences of a girl named Esperanza.  In the short story with the same name, Cisneros focuses on the dream of acquiring a home.  Therefore, this coming-of-age short story emphasizes on the importance of the physical house to the emotional growth and identity of its residents.

Esperanza relates the many times her family has to move from rented house or apartment to another:  “We didn’t always live on Mango Street.  Before that we lived on Loomis on the third floor and before that we lived on Keeler.  Before Keeler it was Paulina, and before that I can’t remember. But I remember most was moving a lot” (Cisneros 290).

Mango Street is a change from all the moving because the family finally does “not have to pay rent”; the house is supposed to be theirs  (Cisneros 291). However, the house still has some disappointments in store for Esperanza and her family.  The house is not what Esperanza imagines a real house that they can proudly call their own to be.

“In the United States in particular, the house is more than just shelter; it is a national institution almost as sacred as the American flag.  In home ownership, the American dream and the American way are manifest: the civic values of individualism, economic success and self-sufficiency are asserted” (Kaup 361).

Esperanza and her family are striving to reach that American dream, to stop being substandard citizens who get to be asked disbelievingly by people “You live there?” (Cisneros 291).  According to Esperanza the way it was asked made her “feel like nothing”.    This is how sometimes people are judged by the house they live in.  The house also affects the psyche of its residents.  A clean, well-kept house may contribute to a clearer outlook while a house which reflects poverty can be a cause for shame, such as in the case of Esperanza and her family’s house on Mango Street (Klein 23).

The short story “The House on Mango Street” may be very brief, but according to Thomas O’ Malley, an English teacher, he considers “Cisneros’ writing” as “poetry” and thinks that “her characters speak poetic dialogue” that has not been heard “since Shakespeare moved out of the hood (O’Malley 35). It is probably Cisneros’ identification with Esperanza’s experiences that make her write them vividly and with the right tone.

She understands what Esperanza is going through, and she makes sure that she uses simple language as appropriate to that of a little girl’s. It is also important to note that like other Latin American writers, Sandra Cisneros emphasizes on the “reinvention” of the English language when put side by side with other languages (Wolf 61).  Esperanza is not just a little girl, she is also a bilingual girl therefore there are two reasons behind the use of simple language.

The story being added to a curriculum may be questioned by some English Literature students (Romero and Zancanella 26), but studying the story is not a waste of time at all even for non-Latinos.  In fact, other students are curious about “the line between fiction and reality” in the short story, having known Sandra Cisneros’ somewhat similar background (O’Malley 37). It not only opens the eyes to the world of Latinos but also expresses the universal need to feel secure with both shelter and identity.  The house on Mango Street is not a useless location for the story; it develops a character of its own.   It is used as a symbol for a person’s status in life, and possibly the person’s emotional state.

The House on Mango Street relates a story of poverty and of a family’s search for a home to call their own.  However, what makes this story worth reading is that although there are many trials for Esperanza’s family, their story ends with Esperanza thinking hopefully:  “I knew then that I had to have a house.  A real house. One I could point to.  But this isn’t it.  The house on Mango Street isn’t it.

For the time being.  Mama says. Temporary, says Papa.  But I know how things go” (Cisneros 291).  The last sentence diminishes that hope but the desire to have a real house is already in Esperanza’s heart.  She has the desire to improve her family’s situation and she does not want to remain trapped in rented houses, or even houses like the house on Mango Street.  However, this does not mean that Esperanza does not recognize the irony in what her parents have promised.

Rudolfo Anaya is another Chicano writer who, like Cisneros, creates “protagonists who, like themselves, have no models, but were possessed by destiny, by inclination and by courage (Klein 22)…” to reach their goals.  He differs from Cisneros in his more active childhood and his stories which focus more on the development of a male protagonist.

Related article: Arguments Made in Take the Tortillas Out of Your Poetry

As a conclusion, “The House on Mango Street” is a story that does not only explore the development of a young girl called Esperanza, it also tells how the different houses she has lived in, including the house on Mango Street, contribute to her emotional growth and recognition of self-worth.  The house on Mango Street is not only present to provide a literal roof over the head of Esperanza’s family, it affects their very identity.

Works Cited

Cisneros, Sandra. “The House on Mango Street.” n.d. 290-291.

Kaup, Monika. “The Architecture of Ethnicity in Chicano Literature.” American Literature,       Vol. 69, no. 2 (June 1997): 361-397.

Klein, Dianne. “Coming of Age in the Novels of Rudolfo Anaya and Sandra Cisneros.” The     English Journal Vol. 81, No. 5 (September 1992): 21-26.

O’Malley, Thomas F. “A Ride Down Mango Street.” The English Journal Vol. 86, No. 8

(December 1997): 35-37.

Romero, Patricia Ann and Don Zancanella. “Expanding the Circle: Hispanic Voices in

American Literature.” The English Journal, Vol. 79, No. 1 (January 1990): 24-29.

Wolf, Dennie Palmer. “Of Courses: The Pacesetter Initiative and the Need for Curriculum-Based

School.” The English Journal, Vol. 84, No. 1 (January 1995): 60-68.



Free Essays

Cisneros’ House on the Mango Street: Beauty Comes from Within

Sometimes it is difficult to live through the travails of what life has to offer for all of us. For some who are unlucky, they have to go through numerous trials and tribulations in order to survive the rigors of poverty, dysfunctional families and societal problems. However, when we learn to see the bright side of everything, we will realize that all these bitter and difficult experiences in life can be beautiful and meaningful for us. Without these, we would not attain success or learn about our mistakes that make all of us better and stronger people.

As a quote from Sandra Cisneros’ The House on the Mango Street (1989) goes — “Butterflies too are few and so are flowers and most things that are beautiful. Still, we take what we can get and make the best of it”, this means that we can all live through seeing things as beautiful and essential. What is important is that we value the things that we have and it is up to us to make our lives better than what we deserve.

Sandra Cisneros’ The House on the Mango Street weaves a thought-provoking, coming-of-age tale of a young girl. She is not only struggling to grow up to become a fine lady like usual American girls, but she is faced with shame, guilt and disappointment as her family is embarking on to acquire a new home in America.

As the story comes to a full circle, the readers would inevitably commiserate with how the girl dealt with the scenarios she had faced. She did not only have to go through the complicated journey with her family to their new home, but she has to deal with the big disappointment that their new house is not what she hoped for. These difficulties definitely fanned some fire inside her – to become more determined and strive harder in the future. In the end, readers could predict her utter frustration why things are always tough for immigrant people like them in America.

In the story, Esperanza’s family has to undergo an awkward transition of looking for a permanent place to live. Readers will immediately infer that the young girl’s family has Chicano roots because the girl enumerated the members of the family in beginning her story — Papa, Mama, Carlos, Kiki and Nenny.

What’s admirable about Cisnero’s conversational style of story-writing is that everyone can relate to their experiences. At one point in anyone’s life, we all can identify with the travails of going through a house transfer. Anyone’s initial reaction will be to feel excited of how our new house will look like or who our new neighbors will be. Unfortunately, for the young girl, she is bound to be betrayed by her own expectations.

When Esperanza’s father announced that they are getting a new house in Mango Street, she expected that it will be in the usual American neighborhood with homes that have freshly-mown lawns and white picket fences. For the Esperanza, Mango Street is more than street sign — it is her marker that circumscribes the dream that she and her family had brought with them. This new house will simply be one aspect of attaining their dream — to have a more comfortable life in this new place, in this new country.

However, when she saw the house in Mango Street, she was disappointed. She becomes aware of her own subjective perceptions as she begins to differentiate her family’s wonderful dreams and society’s ugly realities. Thus, she becomes conscious of her parents’ inability to fulfill their promises of the perfect house. She thought that “They always told us that one day we would move into a house, a real house” (p. 223). However, the “real house” the narrator expected would be “like the houses on TV”

Apparently, when the narrator saw the house on Mango Street, it transformed from being a symbol of hope to become a symbol of poverty. The narrator associates this realization with the humiliation she has felt in the past, when her family lived in similar places. However, Esperanza realized that she can go beyond her expectations and she could make herself a better person, despite her roots and the community she’s living in.

Esperanza began seeing all the positive things around her to make her a stronger person. You can be poor but you still can do good in your studies and excel to become a successful lawyer. You can be a Latina and not get pregnant to become a young mother, but you can strive to achieve your dreams of becoming a great artist someday. Thus, in the story, we can learn that there is beauty in everything that we have. It is just up to us to use these things wisely to make the best out of it.

Works Cited

Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage Books, Inc. 1989.

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Breaking the Mold: a Doll House Essay

Breaking the Mold The pressure to conform to an ideal image is a reoccurring theme throughout literature and even in our culture today. In the highly repressive social climate of the Victorian Era, women, much like children, were seen rather than heard. The ideal Victorian woman is hardly descriptive of Nora in Henrik Ibson’s A Doll House. Through careful observation and questioning, Nora recognizes the injustice of the male-dominated society in which she lives.

Nora’s discomposure with as her begin treated as her husband Torvald’s subordinate, her realization of Torvald’s true character, and her desire to educate herself prompt her to become independent. The most important choice that Nora makes is to leave Torvald Helmer, because this choice is facilitates Nora’s personal growth. Nora’s choice to leave Torvald Helmer is influenced by her increasing discontent with his condescending, doll-like treatment of her. Torvald establishes his dominance by calling Nora his “little lark” among other pet names.

Torvald’s authority over Nora requires her to “dress up” in a costume, becoming what Torvald expects her to be. As Torvald’s subordinate, Nora fluidly bends and twists to his needs, conforming to his desires. Although Nora would like to be treated as an equal to Torvald, she knows him well enough to realize that equality is impossible in their marriage. In order for the marriage to function, Nora has to appeal to Torvald’s ego by flattering him to ask for money and rendering herself helpless in accomplishing the simplest tasks such as choosing a dress.

Small acts of disobedience on Nora’s part are the primary indicator of the growing weight of the facade that Torvald imposes on her. Eating macaroons and saying “to hell and be damned” are two ways in which Nora chips at the mold of behavior that Torvald sets for her. Nora’s outgrowing of the costume Torvald idealizes is marked by actions such as Nora’s remark that she would like to “rip it into a million tiny pieces”. Henrik Ibsen repeatedly illustrates Nora’s agitation over Torvald’s static doll-like control, an agitation tangible to the readers from the very beginning.

Nora’s initial discomfort in fitting Torvald’s mold is later a significant influence on Nora’s final choice. Despite Torvald’s outward broadcast of a perfect home, several unresolved issues bubble below the surface. Nora recognizes the fundamental issues that loom in their marriage when she sees Torvald’s reaction to the letter from Krogstad, and her realization encourages her choice to leave. Torvald leads Nora to believe that he is a righteous man through lecturing of Nora on the value of honesty and through promising to be her lifeguard in times of crisis.

Even right before opening the letter, Torvald remarks that he has often wished that Nora was in some terrible danger so that he could stake his life for her sake. Although Torvald tells her that he would take on “the whole weight” should Krogstad take action against the Helmers, Torvald’s reaction when the worst actually does occur is quite the opposite. Torvald is outraged when he discovers that Nora borrowed money from Krogstad, and he accuses her of wrecking his happiness. Nora, who originally borrowed the money to save Torval’s life, is shell-shocked by Torvald’s reaction.

All of his actions prior to this event led her to believe that he would have taken the blame for her, affirming his love for her. In contrast with her expectations, however, Torvald’s immediate concern after reading the letter is saving “the bits, and pieces, the appearance. ” His foremost fear of losing respect in the community is exhibited by his insistence that Nora remain in the household so that it appears nothing has changed. In the midst of Torvald’s panic, a second letter arrives, returning Nora’s bank note.

Just as quickly as Torvald exploded in anger, he rejoices in triumph that he is saved. Nora becomes aware of Torvald’s selfishness when she asks “What about me, am I saved too? ” Her awakening to the Torvald’s priority of the appearance of happiness rather than actual happiness in the Helmer marriage fuels her decision to discover a better life. Torvald’s outburst ignited Nora’s inner flame. Nora’s attempts at small freedoms can be compared to wet matches, whereas her final decision to leave Torvald is similar to a brilliant spark of fire.

Nora’s final motivation for her decision to leave the marriage comes from her realization that in addition to not knowing Torvald, she does not know herself. In leaving Torvald she seeks to educate herself determine if the teachings of religion, law, and society are true. In a sense, Torvald’s response to Nora’s attempt to save him causes Nora to save herself. Upon her realization of Torvald’s true character, Nora tells Torvald that she is “getting out of her costume,” both literally and figuratively paralleling Nora’s exit of the marriage.

Nora fell from the control of her father to the control of Torvald without ever being able to develop her own opinions. Nora breaks free from Torvald’s puppeteer strings with the certainty that she cannot be concerned about her duties to her husband and her children over her duty to herself as a human being. Nora expresses to Torvald that she must develop her own tastes out in the world. In conclusion, Nora’s exit can be attributed to her discontent in Torvald’s mold, her realization that Torvald was not the person she though he was, and her desire to become her own person.

Minor rebellions indicate Nora tolerates Torvald’s parental treatment but is clearly not fulfilled living according to someone else’s rules. When Nora sees Torvald’s reaction to the letter from Krogstad, she realizes that Torvald only cares about the masquerade, or how things make him appear. The appearance is all Nora has ever known with Torvald, and her critical decision to leave is reinforced by her desire to cultivate a person behind the appearance. These powerful motivators enabled Nora to slam the door behind her, rejecting the preconceived notions of society and developing new voice all her own.

Free Essays

Realtionship Nora and Torvald – a Dolls House

The relationship between the two main characters of Nora and Helmer in “A Doll’s House” are established through the dialogue and stage directions which take place in Act One. The relationship is very representative of the time period in which it is set, Helmer, the husband is the head of the household and is the most important in the family status he controls the family’s lifestyle according to his own views. In order to convey Torvald’s authority in the relationship, Ibsen uses first person possessive pronouns, for example, ‘Is that my little squirrel frisking about? , the use of ‘my’ reflects the ownership that Torvald has over Nora, this links to the ideologies of society at the time were a man owned his wife in the relationship and that a man Just as the pre-modifying adjective ‘little’ undermines Nora’s authority in their relationship and emphasises his power over her. Ibsen also depicts the idea that Nora is in Torvald’s household for his own enjoyment by referring to her as a pet, ‘My pretty little pet is very sweet but it runs away with an awful lot of money’, To him, she is only a possession.

Torvald calls Nora by pet-names and speaks down to her because he thinks that she is not intelligent and that she can not think on her own. Whenever she begins to voice an opinion Torvald quickly drops the pet-names and insults her as a women through comments like; “worries that you couldn’t possibly help me with,” and “Nora, Nora, just like a woman. “(1565) Torvald is a typical husband in his society. He denied Nora the right to think and act the way she wished.

He required her to act like an imbecile and insisted upon the rightness of his view in all matters. The relationship between the two main characters of Nora and Helmer in “A Dolls House” are established through the diologue and stage directions which take place in Act One. The relationship between the characters is quite simplistic, derived from the 1870s time period in which it is set. Helmer, the husband is the head of the household and is the most important in the family status, he controls the families lifestyle according to his own views.

This is depicted through Helmer’s actions and diologue towards Nora. Nora has respect for her husband and “goes cautiously to her husbands door and listens” rather than disturb him to find out if he his home. She also listens to his advice and tries to include him in her everyday chores “Come see what vie bought”. Helmer treats her as a child calling her “scatter brain” and “my lost squirrel” giving the impression of ownership, and that she is in ‘his’ household for his enjoyment.

Throughout the scene Helmer continues to use pet names such as “feather brain” and “sulking squirrel” which undermine Nora’s authority in their relationship and emphasis his power over her. When Nora arrives home from shopping in town Helmer asks “has featherbrain been out wasting money again”, making Nora appear as a foolish girl who has no knowledge of money and that she spends it unknowingly, which shows Hemler’s perception of her. Helmer’s controlling relationship is also shown through their discussion of money early on in Act 1.

Although both have conflicting ideas on spending money at christmas time, Nora eventually gives in to his opinion “very well if you say so”. This emphasizes how she adapts to suit his point of view even though she disagrees with the idea herself. She obeys and changes her own opinions to match Helmer’s showing that she has no way to stand up to defend her own beliefs in the relationship, meaning that her own views are forgotten and ignored.

Helmer believes he is superior and that he must “protect her” as she is so delicate and unexperienced that he must decide all of the aspects of her life without consulting her, he appears to dictate his opinions to her “no debts, no borrowing”, his views soon become the reality and laws of the household as Nora replies to him that she “would never do anything you didn’t like” . Helmer’s protective and controlling nature lead to his ideas being imposed on Nora through their relationship despite her beliefs, leaving no room for confliction.

Which causes Noras’ deception from Helmer, rather than telling him the truth which he will not accept, she decides to hide information from him. This means that although they are married, their relationship is not very deep and meaningful, since Helmer doesn’t consult the details of their lifestyle with Nora, which means she cannot express her ideas and show her traits through their lifestyle and therefore she has no knowledge of law or the world around her. This is highlighted when Helmer asks Nora what she wants as a present, rather than giving her a surprise.

Showing that he has no knowledge of her interests as their duties to the family are completely separate. However Helmer seems to be infatuated by her in the play as he “follows her” around the kitchen and talks to her, showing that he is in love with her. Helmer depicts her as a lover and yet he is unable to consult with her the issues of their married life, leaving her no concerns and no knowledge of law or the world around her. Which leads to the deterioration of their relationship as Nora discovers she needs to express herself and therefore seeks to escape the stifling confines of his opinions.

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Manor House Paper

Manor House is a TV show about 12 people in real life, who choose to live in a manor house and live as a servants like the people in the Edwardian time period. These people choose to go three months away from their jobs and without all the luxuries of modern life. In Manor House there many servants, but there is also the family that runs and lives on the estate. This family on the show is the Olliff-Cooper family. Sir John is the Master of the House; it is his job to keep the estates up and running. Lady Olliff-Cooper is the Lady of the House.

Her duty is to make sure that when there is a banquet everybody is sitting in the right order. Mister Jonathan and Master Guy are the two sons of the family. The last of the family is Miss Anson she is Lady Olliff-Cooper’s sister. Miss Anson is unmarried, so she is living with her sister. After the family, the order of servants goes from highest rank, which is the butler, to the lowest rank of servant, which is the scullery maid. Mister Edgar is the butler. It is the butler’s job to keep the servants separate from the family and to keep the servants in order.

Mrs. Davies is the housekeeper; her job is to make sure the female servants and male servants stay separate and that everybody is working as they should. Monsieur Dubiard is the chef, and his job is pretty obvious: to order, prepare and cook to the food for the family. The last upper servant is the lady’s maid, Miss Morrison. Her job is to prepare, the lady’s hair and clothes, and it is also her unspoken duty to gossip with her Lady about the lower servants. The highest lower servant is Charlie, the first footman.

His duty is to serve Sir John and to dress him as well, but mostly his job is to be the butler’s right-hand man. Rob’s job as the Second Footman is to keep an eye on Master Guy, and that often means playing with him. Also his job is to get up early in the morning and dump everybody’s chamber pots. Rebecca is the first housemaid and Jessica is the second housemaid, and there is not much of a difference between the two housemaids, but mostly just the pay and what time one wakes up is different. Antonia is the kitchen maid, and her job is simple: to do whatever the chef tells her to do.

Kenny is the hallboy. He is the lowest of the male servants, and his job is to do all the dirty jobs that anybody and everybody tells him to do. The lowest female servant rank is the scullery maid. Her job is basically to stay in the kitchen washing dishes all day long and in the show they cannot seem to keep a scullery maid. Kelly was the first scullery maid, but left after only two days. After her was Lucy the second scullery maid. She lasted longer than Kelly with a whole of a couple of weeks, but she couldn’t last the full three months.

A major difficulty in this setting and time period is the lack of freedom. The servants were completely at the mercy of the masters, and if the family was unhappy with anything that a servant did, such as speaking to the family, they could be dismissed at any time. The servants had time off was when everything was done, but like on the show the work is never done. If the work is never done, then people get overworked, leading to everybody being worn out. Being worn out had more than one disadvantage.

One of the disadvantages is the fact that the servants can’t do their work to the best of their abilities. Another disadvantage is that people’s tempers are very short meaning they are more likely to speak against or in front of the family leading to their possible dismissal. What is worse than not having any rights is that back then men and women were unequal. The women were taken advantage of more often than not and they could do nothing about it, especially if it was the master. If there was a choice between a guy and a girl, they would choose the guy.

The men would always get paid more than the women. And the worst part of this would be not be being able to fight this rule, or in that time period it might as well have been a law. The servants did not get paid very much and they were expected to just accept it because they were being given food and housing, so in reality they were little better than slaves. The only servant that was really treated well by everybody was the chef; he could leave the family at any time because a high-class chef was in high demand

The rules in the Edwardian time period were very strict. The female servants and the male servants were never to be engaged in anything romantic. To help with keeping the servants separate, the manor house was set up with the females living on the complete opposite side of the house as the males. Another rule was that if the family were walking down the stairs, the servants were to make themselves as invisible as possible, such as going into a corner facing the walls to make sure that they never made eye contact.

Another rule is that the servants, except the butler and the lady’s maid, were never to speak in front of the masters. That rule is very important to them, and if a servant breaks it the consequence was often dismissal from the manor. Overall I think it would have been an interesting experience, and I most likely would have jumped at the chance if they had offered it to me. But I know for certain that would not have wanted to live during that time period! I would hate having to deal with all of those rules.

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Essay on Edgar Allen Poe’s Fall of House of Usher

Bipolar disorder affects many people today as well as in the time of Edgar Allen Poe when it was then called melancholia. Poe was diagnosed with this disorder and it plays an integral role in his story, “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1839). This story is heavily influenced by this disorder or its presently associated symptoms and also describes one way that bipolar disorder can genetically affect an entire family. To fully understand a story involving this disorder, it is cardinal to know the exact definition of bipolar disorder, as well as its symptoms and previous aliases.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines bipolar disorder as: “a form of mental illness characterized by one or more episodes of mania typically accompanied by one or more episodes of major depression” (Cite? ). Some terms used for what is now considered bipolar disorder include melancholia and manic depression. Melancholia is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as: “A pathological state of despondency; severe depression; severe endogenous depression, with loss of interest and pleasure in normal activities, disturbance of sleep and appetite, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, and thoughts of death or suicide. (Cite? ). The first person to associate melancholia and madness as two parts of the same disease was Araeteus from Cappadocia (30-90 AD) (Skeppar 8). Manic Depression is actually included as an equivalent term to bipolar disorder in the Oxford English Dictionary. (Cite? ) There are four main stages of bipolar disorder: hypomania, mania, depressed, and mixed. Hypomania and mania share similar symptoms such as racing thoughts, increased physical activity, lack of sleep and hunger, and heightened sensitivity. Hypomania also has a distinct symptom labeled as an increase in goal directed activity.

The depression stage includes symptoms such as constant depression, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation, energy loss, trouble thinking, and indecisiveness. As expected the mixed stage has some common symptoms as the other stages and also more severe such as thoughts of death and suicidal ideations. These symptoms previously mentioned play an immense role in diagnosing the character of Roderick Usher. It is common knowledge that bipolar disorder has symptoms of mood swings both high and low which is why it is justly named.

Not commonly known, however, is the link between artistry and this disorder (Jamison). The wise Aristotle is quoted as saying, “Why is it that all men who are outstanding in philosophy, poetry or the arts are melancholic? ” (Jamison 51). A side note to this is evident when Jamison states: “The manic drive in its controlled form and phase is of value only if joined to ability” (Jamison 55). The artistic tendencies frequently common with bipolar syndrome help the reader to diagnose Roderick Usher in the story “The Fall of the House of Usher”.

It is overwhelmingly clear that throughout Poe’s story, Roderick Usher suffers from bipolar disorder. It is clear from early on in the story that Usher is suffering not only from depression, but also from an illness in his mind as shown in his letter to the narrator: “The writer spoke of acute bodily illness — of a mental disorder which oppressed him — and of an earnest desire to see me, as his best, and indeed his only personal friend, with a view of attempting, by the cheerfulness of my society, some alleviation of his malady. ” (Poe).

The narrator also notices his mood swings evidenced by the different ways in which he would talk displayed by this passage: “His voice varied rapidly from a tremulous indecision (when the animal spirits seemed utterly in abeyance) to that species of energetic concision — that abrupt, weighty, unhurried, and hollow-sounding enunciation — that leaden, self-balanced and perfectly modulated guttural utterance, which may be observed in the lost drunkard, or the irreclaimable eater of opium, during the periods of his most intense excitement. ” (Poe). Another way that Usher displays signs of bipolar disorder is through his artistic expression.

Not only does he paint, but he also reads heavily and plays musical instruments which shown a sign of increased goal related activity. Also, Usher “suffered much from a morbid acuteness of the senses; the most insipid food was alone endurable; he could wear only garments of certain texture; the odors of all flowers were oppressive; his eyes were tortured by even a faint light; and there were but peculiar sounds, and these from stringed instruments, which did not inspire him with horror. ” (Poe). This heightened sensitivity is evidence of the mania stage associated with bipolar syndrome.

Also, a possible episode of mania would be the scene involving Usher’s sister coming from the dead. This could surely be seen as an hallucination and sign of a manic episode. To recap, Usher has symptoms from the hypomania, mania, and depressed stages meaning the ailment that he suffers from is not melancholia, but instead a modern case of bipolar or manic depression disorder. One reason for a character in a story having a particular disorder would be that the author has real life experience with it. Such is the case with Edgar Allen Poe and “The Fall of the House of Usher”.

Poe most definitely suffered from what would now be considered a form of manic-depression disorder. During his final year on Earth, he showed signs of mania, constantly relocating to various cities (Meyers 244). Also during this year, he is reported as saying to a friend named Frederic Thomas: “You will be pleased to hear that I am in better health than I ever knew myself to be- full of energy and bent on success. ” (Meyers 245). This evidence of a prolonged state of mania or even hypomania as he reports having an increase in energy, goal related activated, and seems to be experiencing delusions of grandeur.

He also experienced stages of depression including binges of drinking and even hallucinations (Meyers 252). Poe also had a recorded attempt of suicide in November 1848 (Meyers 252). According to Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, “Poe was scarcely alone in suffering from both manic-depressive illness and alcohol and drug abuse” (Jamison 37). Jamison seems to have diagnosed Poe with manic-depression or bipolar disorder. From other places in Jamison’s book, Touched with Fire: Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, it’s reasonable to believe that Poe’s artistry most likely stems from his disorder allowing him to be even more creative.

Perhaps Poe’s own psychological problems influenced his portrayal of Usher in this short story. As aforementioned, both Poe and his fictitious character Roderick Usher suffer from bipolar disorder. This was not by coincidence. It seems clear that Poe’s reasoning for this is to give the public a way to see inside Poe’s on diseased mind and better understand not only his works, but also himself. An author’s best ways to display his own problems are to weave them into a story as is done in “The Fall of the House of Usher. ” One can better understand his mind through a story than with descriptions of his symptoms alone.

Bipolar disorder is a hereditary disease. According to Dr. Francis J. McMahon of the National Institute of Mental Health in regards to the genetic inheritance of this disorder, “about two-thirds of the risk for bipolar disorder can be explained by genes” (“NIH”). This information is known due to twin studies: if one identicle twin has manic depression then it is a 60 to 80% likelihood that the other twin has it (“NIH’). The genetic inheritance of this disorder amongst sufferers is around 79 to 93% (Backlund 501). This means that most manic-depressive people acquired the trait from family members instead of from environmental factors alone.

The exact genes that cause bipolar disorder are not yet known but different genes have been isolated (Jamison 16). One of these possible genes could be the P2RX7 gene (Backlund 501). This gene affects the way in which dopamine is unleashed in the brain which brings about its association with the manic episodes of manic-depression (Backlund 501). The heredity of bipolar disorder plays an interesting role in “The Fall of the House of Usher”. Roderick Usher inherited his manic-depressive disorder in a modernly bizarre way: through inbreeding.

Usher belong to a wealthy prominent family as shown by his massive, gothic style house. Many of these wealthy families practiced inbreeding in order to keep bloodlines strong and to prevent the spreading of wealth. This is shown when the narrator says “I had learned, too, the very remarkable fact, that the stem of the Usher race, all time-honored as it was, had put forth, at no period, any enduring branch; in other words, that the entire family lay in the direct line of descent, and had always, with very trifling and very temporary variation, so lain” (Poe).

This quote visibly projects an image of inbreeding as it says the family tree was essentially bare of branches. Due to the influence that genetics plays on bipolar disorder, if one person in his family had it then he is also likely to have it. A lack of genetic diversity means that many other people in his family most likely suffered from the same disorder as him. It seems likely that his sister also suffered due to the constant presence of a doctor in the house.

Early on in the story, the narrator says that the family for generations had been interested in music and the sciences (Poe). When looking at this through a bipolar perspective, these interests could be a derivative of an entire family suffering from the same disorder. Another note is that the narrator says that “’House of Usher’ — an appellation which seemed to include, in the minds of the peasantry who used it, both the family and the family mansion” (Poe) Therefore, when the House of Usher crumbles at the end of the story; perhaps it is in reality the crumbling of Usher’s mind.

The correlation between inbreeding in this story and bipolar disorder is strong. By knowing the way in which inbreeding affects bipolar sufferers, one can better understand the story. Also, the knowledge of Poe’s melancholia can also explain why this story may have been written: to portray this disorder in a way in which people can better understand it. A better understanding of these disorder not only helps people understand the mysterious mind of Poe, but also people they may encounter in real life.

Free Essays

Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five

Kurt Vonnegut has written something that has captured the imagination of generations. His novel is entitled “Slaughterhouse Five.” This novel has put into use what the literary world call as dark comedy, also known as black comedy. Dark comedy is basically a sub-genre of comedy that has satirical elements. This sub-genre typically tackles serious topics like death, war, rape, and the likes with wit and humor.

I have selected three scenes of which Kurt Vonnegut displayed his talent in using dark comedy to hook his readers. The first scene that I’ve picked is that where the arguable protagonists Billy Pilgrim and the unlovable fat soldier Roland Weary were captured by enemy troops.

Those enemy troops who had captured them were not regulars. They were merely using equipment collected from dead soldiers. When the novel was first read by the public, they could have just thought that this was fiction. Maybe they weren’t aware that this is a reality in war. Equipment from the dead is considered free rations since there will always be shortages in wars. What the author had done here is that with all the dark comedy packed into this novel, he had squeezed in bits of reality.

The dark comedy there is that as readers we were caught off guard that we were already laughing at something that is brutally happening in reality. It could also be that the author is in favor of stripping the dead off their possessions since those things would only be beneficial to those who are still alive.

The next dark scene that I’ve picked is where the Valencia, the overweight wife of the arguable protagonist Billy Pilgrim, died because of carbon monoxide poisoning. She was already on her way to see his husband. Then the unfortunate happened, or Kurt Vonnegut’s dark comedy made it happen, she died of carbon monoxide poisoning inside her car. The author had constructed the scene as if the death of Valencia didn’t invoke sad emotion at all. Again, I believe that the function of this is to show what is happening in reality.

We don’t need statistics to prove that there are countless wives out there who are left by their unfaithful husbands. But then, this dark humor could also be targeted to those who have eating and weight issues. The author may have wanted to show that most overweight bring the problem upon themselves because just like Valencia, they can’t stop eating. This could be the author’s answer to why are there such a number of miserable people in this planet. It is because we cause our own problems.

The last dark scene that I have chosen is when the prisoners of war were assigned to the dreadful task of digging up the graves for a lot of dead bodies after the town of Dresden was bombed. It was such an awful sight that one of those who were digging the graves threw up from the bad smell. He threw up so bad that he died. Again, there is no word that can perfectly describe the scene than dark comedy.

The author had beautifully used the elements of dark humor, wit and irony. It is such an irony that the ‘dead’ is in a sense free from the toils of being alive and stuck in a war. That scene also shows that people can be pushed to do even the things that they won’t imagine themselves doing. Anyone will succumb when there is a gun pointed to you and your loved one’s.

All in all, the author had used dark comedy as a hook that has kept his readers turning the pages. Dark comedy also evokes a certain weird combination of the effects of entertainment and disgust.

Work Cited

Vonnegut, K. Jr. Vonnegut, J. Slaughterhouse Five. NY: Tandem Classic Books. 1999.

Free Essays

Home vs House

Material and Spiritual Possessions John Berry, the homeless man from Yorba Linda was stabbed in the back thirty times. He did not have what people viewed as a house, but the bench near Carl’s Jr. was considered his home, a place of comfort and value close to the heart. “Homeless” an essay written by Anna Quindlen, focuses on the people who don’t have that sense of place, “a place of certainty, stability, predictability, and privacy” (Quindlen 528). “Homeless” is not about the people who are living on the streets, but the people who never had a house to call their home.

The difference between the two is that a house is a possession that functions as a protective shelter, an area to do daily routines and is a monetary asset to the owner, while a home possesses sentimental value, memories and traditions. First, a house is an architectural structure that provides shelter and also used for financial gain for its inhabitants. A house has four walls and a roof to block wind, rain, heat, and other outside elements for the people inside.

Therefore, the outside of the house is made of materials that are waterproof while the structure is sturdy to withstand high winds. A house contains air conditioning and blinds to block heat from the outside. This building doesn’t only protect from weather, but also from people. The doors and windows have locking mechanisms to keep unwanted intruders out. A house also can be equipped with a security system that has cameras, alarms, and motion sensing lights for the people who want to be extra safe. Each room in a house is built specially to serve a purpose.

The kitchen is filled with appliances to cook and store food. The bathroom is built with a toilet, shower, and a mirror to help accomplish morning routines. The bedrooms have a closet, bed, and desk so that the person living there can have his own private area to change, sleep, and complete work. However, the main purpose for a house for many people is for the financial gain. A house can be sold, bought, rented, foreclosed, and even abandoned. Many people bought a house so in the future they hope that they can resell the house for when they retire.

Some people buy inexpensive houses to fix them up with a small amount of money and sell it for more than they bought the house including the repairs. Others buy a house in a certain area so they can vacation and stay there whenever they please. Houses are a realtor’s way of making a living. A house is treated like a possession that is passed from owner to owner and becomes nothing more than a structure. On the other hand, a home is a special place that holds memories that will never be forgotten, traditions and feelings that cannot be found anywhere else.

A home has those crayons blemishes on the wall that track how the children are growing over the years. Home has that smell of Korean style hotpot every Christmas, that certain area where there is perfect lighting with peace and quiet to indulge in a novel, and the window that has a perfect view and has sun seep through it every morning. Birthdays to holidays are spent together with friends and family in this safe haven celebrating the special occasion. A home sees the ups and downs of the family living there.

A family grows together in a home not only by age, but bonds between family members. A living room in a home hosts the Super Bowl game every year where friends and family get together with snacks and drinks to watch the game. A living room in a home is where the tree stands every December towering over the presents. The living room has the perfect love seat to be lazy on and watch favorite television shows and movies. The mahogany coffee table right next to the sofa is the perfect rest for feet compare to being pressed against the cold tile floor.

Board games are placed on the coffee table in the middle of a circle of friends and family to compete with each other in Monopoly, Life, and Scrabble. To sum up, home is the best place to be to unwind from the day and have all the stress die way. A home is original, there is no place like home. It is decorated with memories and sentimental items; it has a feeling of permanence. The family in the home has privacy knowing no one is looking over their shoulder, no one is in their area of relaxation and no one is going to be bothersome. The home owner has control of what happens within the walls of the home.

The home owner chooses what activities, parties and people that are allowed inside the home. Home is where the heart, privacy, and memories reside. Lastly, a home is a sanctuary and private place, while a house is a shelter monetary possession, and full fills basic needs. A home provides way beyond a house can ever give. They all vary in size, shape, color and design, but what is always different is the feeling inside. Works Cited Quindlen, Anna. “Homeless. ” The Longwood Reader. 4th ed. Ed. Edward Dornan (Indent) Charles Dawe. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2000. 527-529. Print.

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A House Divided

“House Divided” Essay Discuss the relevance today of Abraham Lincoln’s statement, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. ” Abraham Lincoln’s statement in his 1858 speech that “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” is an extremely true statement that is as relevant today as it was when he originally stated it in 1858. Lincoln made this statement when he was accepting his nomination by the Republican Party to become the United States senator for the state of Illinois.

Lincoln was attempting to distinguish himself from his opponent for the seat in the Senate, Stephen Douglas, who was a major supporter of the doctrine of popular sovereignty. Lincoln disagreed with Douglas because he believed that the United States could not exist under two opposing forces, that of advocates for slavery and of abolition. Lincoln knew that the country would eventually have to decide between slavery and freedom, and the imminent Civil War is proof that he was right.

Lincoln’s statement in 1858 correctly predicted that the United States could not exist forever torn between the issue of slavery. His statement continues to be valid, even in today’s world, more than one hundred and fifty years later. When the country was divided about the existence of slavery, it was not able to cooperate. Proper authority could not be executed, because the leader had to choose a side. If he was pro-slavery, the north would not be devoted to his leadership. If he was pro-abolition, the south would refuse to acknowledge him as their leader.

This enormous dilemma wreaked havoc throughout the country, leading to the south’s eventual secession from the Union. Today, the concept of when an institution is on completely different terms with each other they cannot function properly can be applied to many situations, both specific and non-specific. This notion being misunderstood by the majority of the world is on display in daily life. When two parents are attempting to instill authority over their child but disagree on something, the child is erroneously disciplined.

When the child receives two conflicting views about something they should or should not do, they will not understand what is right. When two business partners are in disagreement about their business policies, the business will fail with no proper guidance. Two friends with seriously incompatible qualities or moral codes will not be able to maintain their friendship. Nothing can survive without unity, which is why slavery was unable to prevail. One specific example of the validity of Lincoln’s statement is the Civil Rights movement of the mid twentieth century.

The Civil Rights movement was an extension of the slavery issue of a century earlier. Black people were still not being treated as equal to whites in the southern part of the country. Because there was much division on the issue, there was political controversy during that time. However, just as with slavery, blacks eventually received equal rights and treatment. Another example of Lincoln’s statement being applicable many years after it was said is communism in Russia.

Communism and socialism in Russia eventually failed because it always had a clear winner and loser. One party was greatly benefitted, while the other party was severely disadvantaged. Because the country was so divided on the issue, communism collapsed in the Soviet Union in 1991. Perhaps the greatest and most relevant example of the validity of Lincoln’s statement is the current economic depression occurring in the United States. In the United States, the difference between the wealthy and the poor is by an extremely large margin.

The wealthy people of the country possess almost all of its wealth, while the vast majority of the people possess a much smaller portion. As a result, the economy of the United States crashed in the year 2008. This economic depression and the failure of the wealthy to help the poor have been the subject of much discussion and debate throughout the country. Almost everyone is divided on the issue, causing the economy to increasingly become worse. Hopefully, if the country can one day become united on the solution for the economy’s downfall, the economy will recover.

It is clear that Lincoln’s statement in 1858 that “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” was very on the point when he stated it, as well as in today’s world. Lincoln made this statement on the brink of the great Civil War, and he correctly predicted that if the United States continued to be divided on the issue of slavery, it would prove disastrous for the country. Today, this statement continues to apply to many of the world’s problems, both specifically an non-specifically.

Free Essays

Miss Julie/a Dolls House

2) Miss Julie/ A Dolls house DFK 120 Erene Oberholzer 11045231 Dr. M. Taub 4 September 2012 In this essay two plays, Miss Julie written by August Strindberg, and A Dolls House written by Hendrik Ibsen will be compared and concerns such as gender, identity and class will be contextualized. The section I’ve chosen to portray realism and other elements concerning these two plays resourced to the last pages of both scripts. As I see the last pages construct the difference between the plays and characters. Both these plays inform a strand of realism, as in the Traditional Western canon.

Third world text can be characterized by their degree of immediacy, topicality, mimetic quality, and even social realism (Gugelburger, G. M:1991). Realism: The term Realism introduces a strand of thought and considers the world as not reality but, mere appearance. We have no access to “reality” other than through representations. Yet, all representations only show us particular perspectives on reality. When people use the term “realistic” to describe a film they are saying the film shows them an image of reality that they have come to know.

Realism is a constructive construct, produced by reconcilable codes and conventions which change over time. Realism has been constructed to point out existing social reality. Naturalism, on the other hand, conveys a representation that looks sounds and feels like the actual world outside the work of art. Naturalism looks sounds and feels like the things we would expect (Bob Nowlan [sn]: [sp]). Where Ibsen trends more to the line of realism, Strindberg informs naturalism in his writings. For Strindberg ‘good’ naturalism looked for natural conflicts. For him true naturalism meant truth to nature.

He was determined to have his plays deal with fundamental truths. Miss Julie contains traces of symbolism, which were born out of the foundation of naturalism. Although many believe that due to the use of symbolic affects in Miss Julie, the play drifts away from the naturalistic, and more to the realistic. Strindberg used all the elements needed for the development of the plot and the transference of superiority from Julie to Jean. Naturalism does not help for the development of the plot, whereas realism is a structure that reveals real life events and is focused on the people portrayed, as shown in Miss Julie.

Strindberg wanted to create dramatic illusion. His audience was to be completely convinced of the reality of the world off stage, and then transported into a sphere of influence. Ibsen’s contribution to realism began when he consciously started to dramatize the forces and frictions of modern life. Ibsen indicates in A Dolls House that he was creating a particular life through Nora. Ibsen’s dialogue of A Dolls House comes of naturally; he wanted the spectator to sit down, listen and look at events that happens in real life.

Ibsen wrote mainly about hidden relationships, social conversion and secret fears and anxieties Strindberg’s play was actually written as a response to Ibsen’s A Doll house. Ibsen wrote his plays advocating women, and Strindberg had a contrary view. Hendrik Ibsen’s attitude toward society is evident in his double vision of a secure social position. On the one hand, it’s a defense against attack, on the other; such concerns lead to hypocrisies and superficial values. His play reveals him as far more than a realist (Taylor, J. 972: [sp]). Comparing: My examples of both plays illustrate the elements of gender, identity and class. Both playwrights scripts set the last page out to set everything about the differences of these elements. By the ending we can see the fall (Strindberg) and rising of the woman (Ibsen) in social society that time. Gender, class&identity in A Dolls House: Hendrik Ibsen was known as the father of modern drama as he helped popularize realism. He became an observer of the real human life and informed realism in drama.

In 1877 Norway’s social structure influenced Ibsen’s writings. He wanted to extol freedom and truth in his people. A Dolls House questions the suppressed role of women in that time’s society and also introduced the woman as having their own goals and own purposes. Torvald reveals many times his prejudice viewpoint on gender roles. He believes his wives duty is to be at home and embarks on her to always appear beautiful. The central conflict in this playwright revolves around Trovald’s controlling treatment of his wife.

The tragedy of this story is not only about a man controlling his wife, but also the “dehumanizing of the children” (Mahal 2012;476). They are never given a chance to improving their position in the society. Nora, in the beginning of the play, seems to be happy and content whereas she acts out child like qualities. When Torvald walks in Nora’s childlike qualities becomes more transparent. His true character is later revealed when he accuses Nora of forgery and when he tries to disown her. His attitude changes when everything is sorted out, but she walks out of the marriage.

Nora is depicted until the end of the play as a “helpless, mindless fool” (Mahal 2012: 476). In the end of this story this degrading treatment of Nora by her husband is resolved. This play stresses upon the status of women and how their roles were perceived, as mothers and wives. Nora feels like she’s been used as doll for her father and her husband, with no depth in their relationships. Nora exits her ‘doll’s house’ with a door slam, emphatically resolving the play with an act of bold self-assertion. A Doll’s house appears to mislead the audience of the characters true colors.

Our first impression of Nora is that she is childlike and Torvald is seen as strong. The play’s climax leads to the expose of resolving identity confusion. Nora becomes to be a brave woman and Torvald a sad man. Gender, class&identity in Miss Julie: Strindberg was a Swedish playwright and drew his writings from personal experiences. He failed at three marriages. Circumstances made him a naturalistic writer. He was known as a misogynist and a “women hater”. In Miss Julie (1879) he expresses his hatred for the opposite sex.

He was forced to write a second ending for the play after much controversy. The play was censored all over Europe as the play was socially offensive to women. The daughter of a count has an affair with a valet, who in turn forces her to commit suicide. Strindberg had an eye for injustice, but only dealt with the problem of women’s rights as a facet of realism in his plays. Julie suffers an identity crisis and displays her regard for class and gender conventions. She mingles with the servant when a party is thrown.

She expresses absurd behavior but on other times she is coy. Jean warns her of her behavior as she was seen as a temptress. She wavers between the high and low class identity, and is in the end confused with her own identity. Julie also identifies herself with both female and male figures. She confesses she has no self she can call her own. The characters in Miss Julie are portrayed through gender, class and ideology. In the end she orders Jean to hypnotize her to commit suicide. The play reveals Julie having no control over her sexual instincts.

Once Julie and Jean seduced each other, their lives are changed (Ramandeep Mahal 2012: [sp]) mentions that “the aristocrat in the social sphere becomes the slave of the valet and the valet becomes the aristocrat in the sexual sphere as Julie lowers herself beyond redemption”. Julie is seen as an example of the naturalistic movement. “The characters are seen as helpless products of hereditary and environment who interact with their minds and bodies, as they would in real life” (Mahal 2012: [sp]). Both playwrights by Ibsen and Strindberg came of shocking the audience of their time, with the way they portrayed their women characters.

They’re portrayal of sex and divorce was set off to much controversy (Mahal 2012:475). A Dolls House is considered to be more feminist work, where Strindberg has been seen as “his arch enemy” on that point. Ibsen has been seen to deny writing in a feminist point of view; he has said many times that he wrote for the “everyday man”. Strindberg tended to emancipate woman. For example when Julie grows conscious about her humiliation she falls to Jean’s knees. Jean triumphantly stands over her. This also symbolizes the hierarchy of the 1800’s.

These ideas govern the central world of the everyday in the aspect that they inform social hierarchies and show out elements of real happenings people experience everyday. Women were demanded by men, and men were befallen to the beauty of women. In that time of social structure woman belonged in the kitchen (As Strindberg’s points out in Miss Julie) and they were there to raise the kids and beautify their homes. That was the real world. Some of these conventions still stand today in aspect of class and gender. Resources: Ibsen, H. A. A Dolls House. Gugelburger, G.

M. 1991. “Germainistik”, the Canon, and Third world literature. Mahal, R. 2012. A comparative study of Portrayal of women in Ibsen’s A Dolls House and Strindberg’s Miss Julie. Available. [o]. Accessed 2 September 2012 www. rspublication,com Lukas, Nowlan, B. An introduction to the problematics of Realism in video, film, and moving image- culture. Available. [o]. Accessed 2 September 2012 www. uwec. edu/ranowlan/realism film_video_moving-imag_culture. html. Taylor, J. C. 1972. Ritual, realism, and revolt: Major traditions in the drama. New York: Schribner.

Free Essays

Relationships in Forty-Five a Month and the House

Strong and Weak Relationships in Stories Relationships in stories are very important, to who the characters are and how they act. In the stories that were read the relationships shown were both strong and weak. Depending on how the characters act toward each other, it determines their relationship. The stories, Forty-five a Month and The House on the Border, both have very weak relationships, whereas the story, The Ch’i-lin Purse, has a very strong relationship. In a relationship one person sometimes depends on the other, but if the other does not support the other, it becomes weak.

In the story, House on the Border, there was a very weak relationship between the main characters, the people that live in the house and the authorities. The relationship is weak for many reasons. The authorities are not helpful to the people that live in the house. After a thief has just broken into their house, the people that live there tie him up and go to the authorities. They go to different authorities, who just keep passing the responsibility of taking care of the situation on to the other one. Either all eight of us, my wife and I and the six thieves, will spend the remainder of the year here, or they will include the house in one of the areas, thus enabling me to complain to the authorities. ” This shows a weak relationship because the people that lived on the house were very dependent on the authorities, just like any other citizen. This relationship is foreshadowing the author’s take on the his country’s government and how they are not giving aide to the people in the country. That is also another example of a weak relationship, and a more simple example would be between two particular characters.

The story Forty-five a Month is a great example of weak relationship between two characters directly. Two of the main characters, Shanta and Venkat, represent a very weak relationship. Shanta is the daughter of Venkat, they have a weak relationship for a lot of reasons. In a daughter to father relationship, it is imagined that the two are to be considered “close” by spending time together. In this story the daughter to father relationship is broken apart because of the father’s work. The daughter cannot understand the father’s purpose for being devoted to work. I don’t know if it is going to be possible for me to take her out at all- you see, they are giving me an increment. ” The father wants to spend time with his daughter, but he cannot because his job supports his whole family. It is also weak because of the broken promises that Venkat makes to Shanta. Venkat promises to take her to the movies, but he lets Shanta down because she expected a great night out with her father, and is now asleep at home and all dressed up. The promises being broken make it very weak. The Ch’i-lin Purse is a perfect example of a strong relationship.

The relationship between Mrs. Lu and Hsiang-Ling in the Ch’i-lin Purse is very strong because it taught a lesson and saved the characters. It taught the lessons of sacrifice and good karma. The lesson of sacrifice was taught to Mrs. Lu when she gave up her purse to the crying girl at her wedding. Also she was taught to sacrifice when she got her soup after the storm and then gave it away. “If you have a chance to do something good, be sure to do it. Happiness will come back to you. ” The lesson of karma is taught when Mrs. Lu has sacrificed her things and was rewarded in return.

All of that could not have been done without the strong relationship of two strangers, who in the end are both saved and rewarded, because they found each other. The stories, Forty-five a Month and The House on the Border, both have very weak relationships, whereas the story, The Ch’i-lin Purse, has a very strong relationship. The stories had strong and weak relationships, and they all represented them in different ways. The stories showed good examples through characters, foreshadowing, and lessons. Many other stories have both strong and weak relationships.

Free Essays

Victim of Boarding House

Nurbani Trisna Wardhani 10/297584/SA/15201 In this “Boarding House”, a short story form James Joyce, I think the character that becomes the victim is Mr. Doran. At the first the story tells about Mrs. Mooney who had been lived separated with his drunkard husband and built up a boarding house. She lived there with her two children, Jack and Polly. In another angle, we can see Mrs. Mooney boarding house is actually a ‘tool’ that was used by Mrs. Mooney to look for an ideal husband for Polly.

Also read Boarding Schools Should Be Abolished

She tried some ways to get a man with good financial to be Polly’s husband before. She sent Polly to be a typist in a corn-factor’s office in purpose to make bosses fell in love with Polly. Nevertheless, Polly was been flirted by a disreputable sheriff’s man, so Mrs. Mooney took Polly back to the boarding house and asked her to do house work. One day she thought to send Polly back to typewriting, but suddenly she knew that there was something between Polly and one of her guest in boarding house, Mr.

Doran. Mr. Doran is a man in about thirty-four or thirty five of age. He is a religious man who worked in the Catholic wine merchant office. Mrs. Mooney used Polly’s innocent to become a bait to get Mr. Doran got into her trap. She had already known that Mr. Doran was a man who lived in religious culture in Dublin and always obeyed the church rules, so she set that Mr. Doran slept with Polly. By doing this, Mr. Doran had a religious sin and felt guilty.

The only compensation for this sin in this society is marriage, and Mrs. Mooney utilized this. Mr. Doran was hesitated, would he marry her or run away. Nevertheless, he was afraid to lose his job and the church, this is one of reasons he would not run away. At last he chose to marry Polly, because in other hand he remembered by her kind to him. Although, in his thought perhaps he really loved Polly. He imagined they would have a happy life if they married perhaps.

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Vampirism in the Fall of the House of Usher

Bethany Risinger English 2341. 02 Dr. Watson September 20, 2011 Vampirism in “The Fall of the House of Usher” The theme of vampirism occurs several times throughout “The Fall of the House of Usher” written by Edgar Allen Poe. He shows this theme through many actions of the characters and his use of diction. The three main paths of discovering the vampire theme is to closely examine three important instruments within the story. The three instruments used include Roderick Usher, Madeline Usher, and the House that the two live in.

Roderick Usher is used by Poe to demonstrate the vampire theme in two ways. In the launch of the short story, Roderick is described with both physical and mental strangeness. His physical being is characterized as “terribly altered” (152), having a Hebrew nose, and with a ghoulish color of skin. These descriptions do not give an array of a normal human being. Edgar Allen Poe even writes that the narrator “couldn’t connect it’s arabesque expression with any idea of simple humanity” (152). There is obviously something wrong with Roderick physically to where he did not look like a human.

These physical alterations are symbolisms for a vampire figure. Hebrew noses are known to be rather large and pointed downward, giving us the imagery of Dracula, a widely known vampire, who is described as ghoulish looking and with a long, pointed nose. This facial feature, along with the pale albino-like skin color can give us the mental image of a vampire. Although Roderick’s physical features are important examples of the vampire theme, his mental unstableness is of more importance to this theme.

His thoughts and views of things that happen make the idea of vampirism more evident. Roderick mentions that there is an extreme sense of terror and superstition apparent in the house, in the events that were happening, and in ones soon to happen. He is filled with hysteria along with nervous agitation and a mental disorder. When Roderick mentions that “sooner or later (he will) abandon life and reason all together” (153), he suggests that his life will soon come to an end.

His life coming to an end could mean that he will die, but looking through the vampire lens, it could mean that he would soon become immortal (abandoning reason). Madeline Usher, Roderick’s sister, is a very important example of the vampire theme in this story as well. Although she is seldom seen, only 3 times, she is a very important part of the plot and of the vampire theme in “The Fall of the House of Usher. ” Throughout the story she is secretly referred to as the terror described by Roderick and the narrator.

When the narrator watches Madeline disappear in her retreat, he is filled with a state of mental numbness, hinting that she was a terrorizing scene. Ironically, the period of the most vampiristic quality is when Madeline dies. When she dies, the two men, Roderick and the narrator, put her in a coffin and then in a locked away donjon (dungeon). The importance of this part, is that the two guys not only put her in the coffin, but they screw the lid on and lock the large door to the tomb as if to keep her from escaping.

If she were dead, she wouldn’t try to escape, so why bolt everything up? Only if they were burying the undead (hint) would they feel the need to secure everything to where she could not get out. Another way that Madeline is an example of vampirism is when she comes back alive, which we later find out she was never dead, she escapes the coffin and tomb and comes forth to the two men and she “bore him (Roderick) to the floor a corpse, and a victim to the terrors he had anticipated” (161).

In the vampiristic view of this particular scene, it could be suggested that the terrors Roderick spoke of were of Madeline being a vampire and of her hunt to make himself a vampire as well. This might be the reason that Roderick invites his friend, the narrator, to come visit. Roderick probably thought that they two could defeat Madeline and overcome the terror that would ultimately consume Roderick. One last validation that makes “The Fall of the House of Usher” have a vampiristic theme is the fact that the house itself has a vampire feel to it as well.

The structure is defined as gothic, large, and lofty. When images of a vampire-inhabited house, one thinks of a large, dark, spooky place. Not only does the house have an appearance of a vampire, it has the power to suck the life out of people as well (metaphorically speaking). At the very beginning when the author is first describing the house, he already has a sense of uneasiness about himself. He states that there is a “utter depression of the soul” (149) and does not feel at ease anymore.

After entering the house and staying with Roderick for a few days, it becomes apparent that the narrator is getting more and more apprehension to the house and its inhabitants. Staying in the house with Roderick affected his mental awareness to a lot of things. He begins to hear the same noises that Roderick has head and becomes very engulfed with terror, just as his friend Roderick is. The house is a symbol for vampirism because it sucks the normality of the narrator’s thoughts and feelings out and inserted those of Roderick’s.

The vampiristic theme in “The Fall of the House of Usher” is a very easy one to pick out, one just has to read the story in a different way than before. To a person reading it plainly, they might not catch the little things that could hint to vampirism. For example, the blood-red moon described at the end could just be the color or the moon on a random night, but for a person reading the story in a vampiristic viewpoint, they can see that blood-red includes the word “blood” which is the main focuses in vampirism. Vampires suck blood.

Free Essays

Analyzing The House on Mango Street

Sandra Cisneros’ “The House on the Mango Street” weaves a thought-provoking, coming-of-age tale of a young girl. She is not only struggling to grow up to become a fine lady like usual American girls, but she is faced with shame, guilt and disappointment as her family is embarking on to acquire a new home in America. As the story comes to a full circle, the readers would inevitably commiserate with how the girl dealt with the scenarios she had faced.

She did not only have to go through the complicated journey with her family to their new home, but she has to deal with the big disappointment that their new house is not what she hoped for. These difficulties definitely fanned some fire inside her – to become more determined and strive harder in the future. In the end, readers could predict her utter frustration why things are always tough for immigrant people like them in America.

Related essay: Shame is Worth a Try

Point of View, Setting and Characters

Sandra Cisnero’s “The House on Mango Street” has the ability to pinch one’s heart because the narrator’s point of view belongs to a young girl. Her family has to undergo an awkward transition of looking for a permanent place to live. Readers will immediately infer that the young girl’s family has Chicano roots because the girl enumerated the members of the family in beginning her story — Papa, Mama, Carlos, Kiki and Nenny.

What’s admirable about Cisnero’s conversational style of story-writing is that everyone can relate to their experiences. At one point in anyone’s life, we all can identify with the travails of going through a house transfer. Anyone’s initial reaction will be to feel excited of how our new house will look like or who our new neighbors will be. Unfortunately, for the young girl, she is bound to be betrayed by her own expectations.

The setting of the story takes place in a suburb where Chicanos are living in. We can assume that this community is filled with Mexicans, Puerto Ricans or any previous residents of South American countries. These people, like all other immigrants, will always want to stay close to people who would understand them. Since this community is not the usual American neighborhood with homes that have freshly-mown lawns and white picket fences, the narrator is still hoping for the best about the house her father got them in Mango Street.

For the narrator, Mango Street is more than street sign; it is her marker that circumscribes the dream that she and her family had brought with them. Her father and mother challenged themselves to cross their country of origin to United States, just to be assured of a better future. This new house will simply be one aspect of attaining their dream — to have a more comfortable life in this new place, in this new country. At the start, we can almost smell her overflowing relief of receiving the news about the new house.

The narrator justifies that finally they no longer have to pay the rent, “share the yard with the people downstairs” and there won’t be anymore “landlord banging in the ceiling with a broom”. However, when she saw the house in Mango Street, she was disappointed. She becomes aware of her own subjective perceptions as she begins to differentiate her family’s wonderful dreams and society’s ugly realities. Thus, she becomes conscious of her parents’ inability to fulfill their promises of the perfect house. She thought that “They always told us that one day we would move into a house, a real house” (p. 223). However, the “real house” the narrator expected would be “like the houses on TV”:

Our house would be white with trees around it, a great big yard and grass growing without a fence. This was the house Papa talked about when he held a lottery ticket and this was the house Mama dreamed up in the stories she told us before we went to bed.

But the house on Mango Street is not the way she told it at all (p. 224).

Anyone could just imagine the look on her face when she saw their new house. The new house is just the opposite of what she expected. This fact also corresponds to the direct opposition to the words of her parents. This contrast between expectation and reality awakens her awareness of herself as a social being and provokes her own interpretations of the significance the house holds in her life.


Apparently, when the narrator saw the house on Mango Street, it transformed from being a symbol of hope to become a symbol of poverty. The narrator associates this realization with the humiliation she has felt in the past, when her family lived in similar places. She recollected back in Lonnis when a nun from her school accosted her:

Where do you live? she asked.

There, I said, pointing up to the third floor.

You live there?

There. I had to look to where she pointed–the third, the paint peeling, wooden bars Papa had nailed on the windows so we wouldn’t fall out.

You live there? The way she said it made me feel like nothing. There. I lived there. I nodded (p. 224).

We recognize that the society has been pushing the girl to feel ashamed of living in houses her family could afford to pay for. It is such a pity how people show obvious contempt to living spaces, when they should be more concerned how a young girl would feel in seeing their negative reactions. It is inevitable that the girl will be ashamed of her entire social and subjective position. Now, the narrator in the story sees the house as a symbol of the shame that threatens her own self-perception. For her, the house on Mango Street is an emblem of the oppressive socio-economic situation that circumscribes her life and is the source of her feelings of alienation. It is this alienation that becomes a catalyst for her desire to distance herself from this house she does not to be associated with.

Unfortunately, the house also becomes the narrator’s first universe. She begins here because it is the beginning of her conscious narrative reflection. She describes the house from the outside; this external depiction is an unkempt and negative description of the house that would translate to her presentation of her own self: She said “I knew then I had to have a house. A real house. One I could point to” (p. 234).

By pointing to this dilapidated house, she points to herself: the house and narrator become identified as one, thereby revealing an ideological perspective of poverty and shame. Consequently, she wants to point to another house and this means she desires to point at another self. And as she longs for this other house and self, she also longs for another name. The dilemma of having this perception is that she will never have an opportunity to inhabit a special house and to fit into and find comfort. This is because her name, origins and culture will never be erased inside her.

Stories of immigrants, like this, reveal the difficulties faced by the Latino population as they move in America in search of employment or to be reunited with family. Stories of women staring out of windows or having too many babies, trapped indoors because of jealous husbands, and unable to speak English, reveal both their fear of the dominant culture and the oppression of the patriarchal system in society.

Tone and Style

The story is light to read because it is meant to be narrated by a young girl. It is deemed that she is between 9 to 11 years old. She is doing all the narration in the story and it is her point of view that is magnified. The narrative situation is a familiar one: a sensitive young girl’s reflections about her struggle between what she is and what she would like to be. She has voiced out that she wanted a new house where they can have their own room. However, because of their financial difficulties, she is bound to swallow her pride and just accept the dilapidated new house. Although deep inside her, she refuses to give up on her dreams and the hope that someday her family will have those houses she sees on TV.

The frame of Cisnero’s short paragraphs is simple but highly effective. We could easily understand the whole story that the family has been wandering from place to place, always dreaming of the Promised Land, which is represented by having their own decent house. When they finally arrive at the house on Mango Street, which is at last their own house, it is not their promised dream home at all. The parents overcome their dejection by saying that this is not the end of their moving, that it is only a temporary stop before going on to the promised house.

The narrator knows better. The conflict between the promised home and the harsh reality, which she always recognized, has been replaced by a full force of rejection, violence, fear and waste. Cisneros’ presented these emotions without compromise and without dramatization. This is just the way things are on Mango Street, but the narrator will not give up her dream of the promised house and she is determined to pursue it. The lesson she must learn is that the house she seeks is, in reality, her own individuality.


Growing up in a place where you do not belong can be a depressing experience. Especially children, they will never seriously attempt to dissect their feelings and attitudes about being different to the people they see on TV and people they see around them.

Thus, we all know now that Cisnero’s story is not just about dilapidated houses and “dream homes”. It could be linked to the girl’s status of growing up in America. Can she still achieve her dreams when she is living in shame and disappointment? Would her family be able to rise up from poverty? As America has transformed to become a melting pot of cultures, people have to be aware of this diversity. Cisnero’s story is just one slice of life that most immigrants in the United States have experienced. Indeed, we can learn from all these disappointments, shame and challenges we face.

However, it is through understanding, knowing and respecting the diverse culture of our country that we could somehow ease the difficulties of immigrant people who have chosen to achieve their dreams here. Thus, in this story, Cisneros created a narrator, a storyteller and a mythmaker who draws upon old tales and new experiences to create the dreams of the culturally diverse neighborhoods in America.