Author Archives: Grace Jung

Some Basic Thoughts on Austerlitz

There is no doubt that the stylistic choice of long narratives in Austerlitz is a pain to the reader. However, once you get into the pace of reading, I found that the narrative would begin to be a bit easier to understand (plus, the pictures helped haha). Before lecture begins today, I’d just like to blab about a few things that interested me.

I found that the most interesting part of the book were the descriptions of biology such as the function of the moth. Perhaps this is simply because I have a bias for biology over the other sciences.

Sebald, through the narrative voice speaking on behalf of Austerlitz’s account, goes into a great length about the threshold of temperature for these creatures and any others in general. He almost makes you pity the moths by causing the reader to familiarize with the event that you encounter one in person. For instance, he mentions how the moth will fly into your home, recognize it is not a familiar place to be in, and become scared. (Yes. A moth. Scared. You read right.) At this point, the reader is probably skeptical about the narrative’s closeness to the moth. However, he then goes on to explain these feelings by personifying the moth and making it seem helpless at our disposal where the narrated character must take the moth back to nature where it belongs. As much as I, myself, hate moths and would gladly exterminate any that entered my home, Sebald’s narrator provides long descriptions about the simplest of things that forces you to appreciate the beauty/uniqueness of each creature. It is with the passion found in the narrative voice that causes readers to sympatize with the narrator and his concern for these moths.

As someome who raised birds for over a decade, another interesting section in the book was obviously … the mention of birds. More specifically when Sebald’s narrator suggests that Austerlitz’s uncle had a parrot (Macaw) that lived to be 50 years and older.

As absurd as it sounds, yes, these species can live up to said age. In fact, there are some other species that can live to be 100 years old. However, the fact that it is suggested that the bird lived past its normal lifespan in captivity is fascinating. The narrative is notorious for making Austerlitz’s accounts sound true even if it is entirely fiction. (I don’t deny that there are some sections -the facts mentioned about biology- within the book that are odd). The plausibile situations input by the narrator causes readers to believe it would be possible that: A) that Macaw truly had a devoted human partner, B) the narrator exaggerated, for the upmost optimal conditions must be met for the Macaw to reach past its normal life expectancy, C) this Macaw was no ordinary birdy, or D) some mix of all the above and other factors potentially influencing the narrative or the bird itself. Either way, Sebald did not fail to grab my attention and he most likely did so with other readers who were surprised by this fact. After all, the use of pictures after the lengthy but interesting descriptions practically forces the audience to associate the narrative with them and enables the narrator to pass their accounts as real.

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It’s About Time

FINALLY. MANGA. WE GET TO REVIEW MANGA. At this point, just having the oppotunity to have manga acknowledged or at the very least analyzed in ArtsOne is fantastic. (Good choice of manga, Jason *thumbs up* !!) However, this is both advantageous and troubling to some extent. Advantageous because this is the field of art and story-telling that I’ve dedicated most of my life to (hobby-wise and potential career-wise), so I’ve researched my fair share on the matter. On the other hand, it’s just as troubling to talk about because manga/comics are, like any medium of art, flexible in its form. There are so many factors to consider: the history, the style, the editing processess, the aesthetic, etc. Where do I even start?  … I suppose the best thing for me to discuss here are some examples that have influenced me as an artist and the essential processes of manga. Let’s see where this goes …



Osamu Tezuka (手塚治虫) is no doubt the “God of Manga” and “Godfather of Anime”. As a young child, however, my influences were Rumiko Takahashi (高橋留美子) and Tite Kubo (久保 帯人). Rumiko Takahashi is one of the most influential mangakas (manga artist) of Japan where she is acknowledged as one of the best selling female comic artists globally and rumored to be one of the wealthiest women in Japan; since the 1980s, Rumiko’s manga has and is still distributed worldwide in a variety of languages. Some of her most famous works at the time include Urusei Yatsura, Maison Ikkoku, and Mermaid Saga. Rumiko’s works often range from comedy, Japanese folklore, action, horror, and romance. Near the early 90s,  Ranma 1/2 and Inuyasha were two large and popular series that divide her styles more definitely: both manga are influenced by Japanese folklore/fantasy where Ranma 1/2 is a romance-comedy and Inuyasha is more akin to the horror/dark genre of storytelling.

Similarly, Tite Kubo’s serialized works such as Bleach, focus on action genres put in a modern setting. At the same time, he influences the story with Japanese folklore (死神 – Shinigami/Death Gods). There’s no doubt that folklore in the Japanese culture is extremely important, but only a few great artists are able to produce successful manga such as Tite Kubo and Rumiko Takahashi. Mainstream/overrated manga or not, you have to give credit to these artists. Why? Because at the end of the day, the manga industry idealizes a great story over great art. If you’re able to do both … perfect.


Working Out the Kinks

Most mangaka start off by becoming a mangaka’s assistant, completing tasks like inking, photocopying, etc. Another common method is to create a single piece of manga (called a “oneshot”) consisting of an average of 30-40 pages. From there, one will either contact a manga agency for review of the work and potential serialization or enter in contests where the same thing happens afterword.


“Oh! It’s only 30-40 pages! How hard could it be!?”, said a fool in the distance.


It’s stressful making a manga, much less anything satisfactory as an artist. Because the manga industry is extremely competitive, creating a good storyline/artwork may not be enough to get acknowledged. This makes the entire process of starting the piece is difficult (I’ll touch on this in a moment). But, BUT! As corny as it sounds, being passionate about making manga is absolutely essential. If you do manage to overcome the stress, get approved by an editor, and meet your deadlines on time, then congratulations! You’re practically on your way to becoming a true mangaka. Then again, sure, you’ve made it to the biz, but you have an even rougher road to go.

For most manga publications, the serialization process for each chapter is condensed to a week. This eliminates any slackers wishing to create manga, as no mangaka is ever in charge of when they want the artwork to be finished. The tight deadline forces one to get the work done or risk being fired; the mangakas finishes their share of the work and the publication team ensures that art get distributed in a timely fashion.

Before the production of the next chapter, a storyboard must be drafted (with panels/potential dialogue) and presented to the editor. The editor is essentially, your boss who will recommend any last minute changes to improve the series. Sounds pretty standard here, but the real catch is if your storyboard isn’t up to the editor’s standards, is lacking some oomph, or isn’t well developed enough, where the editor will then need you to change some or the entire draft you’ve just made. This means, those 30 pages of potential reading material just went down the gutter and you must learn to be flexible with your work to accommodate for these instances. The good news is that this step is the most difficult and the rest are pretty smooth-sailing. For the next few days, a mangaka will draft the images onto manuscript paper.

  • Day 1: Roughly sketch the basic shapes/position of the characters + general backgrounds
  • Day 2: Line art + Define features (hair, eyes, fingers, etc)
  • Day 3: Shading + Screen tone, Lines, Sound effects
  • Day 4: Speech Bubbles
  • Day 5: Inking
  • Day 6: Any final fixes + production crew takes over
  • Day 7: Plan for the next chapter
  • (Repeat)

(A general order of the process of manga)


The Good News

These days, becoming a self-sufficient manga artist is easier. There are an abundance of social media (Smack Jeeves, DeviantArt, Tumblr, etc) that allow artists to showcase their work online and computer programs such as Sai, Photoshop, Manga Studio that take away the stress of traditional manga making (panels, inking, etc, by hand). For a more time-constrained artist, this option is the most favorable, however, the popularity of the work may not be as successful as entering the manga industry with a company. Online self-publications usually risk the threat of art theft/plagiarism and credibility. Despite this, the majority of social media sites have adequate protection against these factors. Another benefit is the ability to maintain contact with the audience through commissions and fan mail; additional income if the artist creates merchandise. We cannot forget, of course, the joys of working as a free-lance artist.


Panelling Magic

Let’s end this ramble off with amazing works of panelling.

The best panelling I’ve ever seen?

That would have to be Yusuke Murata’s (村田 雄介) One Punch Man in back to back pages.


Fan-made OPM gif 1






Fan-made OPM gif 2 (color)

(Click to see the gifs!)


Look at it in its glory. Need I say anymore?

It’s flawless.


If you’re interested in looking at more amazing (fan-made) gifs of Yusuke’s work , the site is provided at:

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To Be Blonde

In today’s lecture, it was interesting how Hitchcock’s obsession for casting female leading roles as blondes (if and when possible) was pointed out.  It was interesting, partly in the fact that Hitchcock loved to make these blonde characters suffer throughout his films and how the stereotype of a gorgeous, ditzy, blonde was used. Of course, this interpretation comes to mind due to modern day (give or take a couple of decades) tropes of a unique and glamorous, Caucasian woman. Either way, the blondes were casted and Hitchcock needed them to become victims as shown in Vertigo.

We can see that in the apartment scene where Scottie interrogates Judy,  the blonde vs. brunette stereotype ironically appears. Scottie needs Judy to become Madeline in every way possible  in order to fulfil his own fetishes and obsessions. This means that the independent, common, rational Judy must disappear. As the scene unfolds, we see that the self-sufficient, brunette Judy breaks under the pressure of Scottie’s interrogation and complies with his will to transform her. Lo and behold, Judy allows herself to become blonde and in doing so, adopts/returns to a submissive and helpless woman.

I’m not saying that Hitchcock had any intentions to symbolize the helpless woman as a blonde and represent the independent one as a brunette, but it is definitely amusing how well this conveyed the blonde as the fetishized object of gaze. If anything, it was more logical for Hitchcock to represent blonde women as objects of the male gaze in the film as the hair color itself draws the audience’s attention. If we look at the previous scene of Scottie viewing both Gavin and “Madeline” in the restaurant this becomes especially apparent. Madeline (Judy) is viewed through the “double frame” by Scottie and Scottie alone; her attire is much brighter in comparison to the rest of the diners who dress in black or obscure colors. For her beauty to be noticed, seen, and acknowledged, she must be different.

Taking this back to present day, I wonder just how relevant the blonde vs. brunette contrast is. Perhaps it is as obvious as the rarity of blonde genetics that makes these individuals physically unique, idealized and empowered (even if they are fetishized) in many advertisements/media we see today.

I mean …

Memes: Fierce and Blonde.

My screenshot of Conan’s interview with Chris Hemsworth (THOREAL: Paris)


… this caught your attention, didn’t it?


(Link to the full interview:

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“Out of Love” and for “Our Own Good”

Whilst reading Michel Foucault’s Discipline & Punishment (part 2), discipline is a term that applies to the training of one’s body and mentality that becomes enhanced through rewards or punishment. When I look back on my childhood, or the Asian culture in general, this only really applies to a minimal extent. Obviously, I don’t speak on behalf of the entire Asian population and am not convinced that all Asians enforce discipline through punishment, but in general, the Asian culture does exhibit more discipline, in a stricter degree, than others cultures.

An example of this would be the pressure of entrance exams in South Korea. Students are pressured into taking immense pride for their academic achievements, which has given South Korea its third rank in proficiency in the subjects of math and sciences, but have come at the cost of one of the highest suicide rates (of students ranging from 15-24 years old). The average hours a student is at school ranges from 9am-5pm, however, the reality is that instead of going straight home, many stay behind at school for extra-curricular courses/study sessions. These sessions may take up several hours, which means that students would typically come home around 8pm-10pm or even later. Once home, it is not uncommon for students to continue their study at night throughout the early morning.

Why are they studying this much? Because the entrance exams are believed to be the most successful method of getting into a good university which are almost guaranteed to allow the students to have a stable job after they graduate. To say that the individual’s future relies/depends on the successful performance of the exam is in no way an exaggeration. Typically, the better the university, the better the job prospects are. Therefore there is more competition with others (as with any university, there are a limited amounts of students accepted) that follows with the stress of studying for the exam. In addition to the studying, the numerous amounts of school work causes anxiety which may lead to a poorer performance by the students. As they are constantly suffocated by an intense academic pressure, that has a profound effect on determining the direction of their life, many students are unable to find adequate coping mechanisms for their stress and become depressed or lose their self-esteem.

In grade 5 (when I visited South Korea), I remember my cousin preparing himself to go to school as early as 5am and coming back in the evening at 10pm. Mind you, he is three years older than me. At the time, in Western classifications, he would have been a grade 8 student. As a Korean myself, I was most definitely shocked to learn about the amount of hours students must commit to school. It was even more shocking when my mother and aunt confirmed that this was a normal and standardized practice, as they too, have had to endure the same stress in the past. The fact that these practices have not been changed or improved to a significant degree is both disappointing and heart-wrenching such as when a student council from  KAIST expresses, “Day after day we are cornered into an unrelenting competition that smothers and suffocates us. We couldn’t even spare 30 minutes for our troubled classmates because of all our homework… We no longer have the ability to laugh freely.”

(The above quotation is taken from The New York Times article that can be found here:

But was it really worth it? To what degree does slaving one’s time away by studying for a single chance of “success” (passing the entrance exam) bring any satisfaction? The majority of students who have endured the stress, passed the entrance exam, graduated, and gained a job must nonetheless face the same pressure and stress in the workforce; to maintain their position, workers must work tedious hours, throughout day and night, whilst being obligated to be compliant to the boss (who may assign more work that go beyond the employee’s standard hours). This is no “over-time”. The employees seldom get compensated with extra payment. This is reasoned as a so-called “respect for the superior”, the “discipline” to do so, and become “happy” with the state of these living conditions.

Yes, the students perfect the skill of good work habits. Yes, many students who dedicated their lives to study have gained stable jobs. Yes, doing both these things have, in the generalization of the Korean culture, brought “pride” to their family name. However, the amount of discipline that is necessary to reach these feats are quite excessive and bring strains on the individual both mentally and physically. In fact, discipline in this regard is almost quite cruel.

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Separating the Reds from the Whites

We’ve all ,at one point or another, been told to separate the reds from the white. However, it appears that Angela Carter did not get the memo and is compelled to fuse the two together inseparably with the symbol of white roses and snow in contrast to blood in The Bloody Chamber. The various times that snow or a white rose is mentioned throughout the fairy tales, almost immediately there is blood shed. For example, in “The Snow Child”, a count stumbles upon a girl with pasty complexion amidst the frost and cold of winter. It is interesting that it is a Count (the blood-sucking monster that is a vampire), who encounters the young girl, who is naked and completely vulnerable to the elements of the cold, “by chance”. We then see that the pale girl pricks her finger on the thorn of a rose and melts (Melts….she melts. Yeah, you read that right). As soon as, for the lack of a better wording, the “reds mix with the whites”, a vile scene soon follows. This is perhaps symbolism of the violation of purity and innocence that is represented by the color white, which is in this case is the obedient little girl, by the bold and brashness that represents the color red. It was perhaps also necessary that the individual who encountered the little girl be the Count, as the pasty girl’s blood would only be desired by creatures such as the Count himself. Additionally, the Count treasured the girl more than his own wife, but breaks free from his fake chivalry as he “unfastened his breeches and thrust his virile member” (94)  into the lifeless cast of the girl’s body. Not only are the Count’s intentions finally revealed as rape, but as a morbid obsession of necrophilia. In the end, the innocent girl is deduced to nothing but “a bloodstain, like the trace of a fox’s kill on the snow” (94).

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War Never Changes

There was a particular scene in Francis Coppola’s Apocalypse Now that reminded me of the trauma faced by a protagonist in Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front. In  Apocalypse Now, Willard begins his monologue of his experience returning to civilization. He goes on to recall the desire to leave the warzone when he was in duty, but quickly changes this opinion when he feels like a stranger to the “peace” of being at home. This realization is similar to All Quiet on the Western Front’s Paul Baumer when he is temporarily relieved from his service at war. Paul returns to his sister and sickly mother , however, he  is unable to escape the belief that he does not belong by his family’s side, but rather belongs to the brutal conditions of war. (As Paul joined the war when he was eighteen, he encounters the cruelty of manslaughter in war that the majority of adult men have not confronted.)

Both Willard and Paul have experienced the cruelty and chaos of war on the frontline where they have witnessed gruesome injuries, the deaths of close acquaintances, and slaughtering of men upon men. To suddenly return to society is an adaptation that neither of the protagonists are able to make, especially when civilians and society glorify the  act of going to war and the “pride” that is associated with their participation in it. Those in society euphonize the war (despite having little or no knowledge of the struggles found within) and idealize a brave soldier without fear of the war. It is due to the realization that the fantasy of a noble and unbroken soldier returning home is impossible that causes Willard and Paul to embrace the harsh conditions and reality of war. Neither of the protagonists can cope with the denial of their trauma in the frontline (by society’s unshattering delusion of war bettering the soldier and the nation), thus they seek comfort in the atrocities of war that are real, unavoidable, and ever-lasting in memories.

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Death Before Dishonour

Both Gustl in Schnitzler’s Lieutenant Gustl and ancient Japanese samurai/nobility have a deep sense of social obligations where suicide is considered an honorable death or punishment. There are quite a few differences between the methods of how one commits this act, in the name of pride, which I will now proceed to expand on and compare down below.

In feudal Japan, はらきり (Harakiri) or せっぷく (Seppuku) is the act of disembowling one’s stomach. This act was most prominent in the 15th to 16th century and was mainly reserved for samurai and those of nobility, as a consequence of bringing shame to one’s high and recognizable status. However, it was condoned as a privilege and grace to be able to take one’s own life in this way.  Similar to Gustl’s social duty as an officer, where his position demands that he follow the expectations associated with his rank, Gustl must stay calm and professional where he may not deny/refuse a duel, nor may he allow his title to be offended.  Failure to do so results in social ostracization which then causes one to conclude that it is more “honourable” to take responsibility for one’s pride as well as avoid public shame by committing suicide.

Gustl is fearful of both death and scandal. He failed on numerous occasions to defend his sense of a strong and dominant masculinity against the baker. Not only did he fail to follow his social obligations but he was also humiliated in the process. The baker retorts, “Do you understand, you fool? … You, Lieutenant, just keep still now” (119), having no care for Gustl’s position as an officer by degrading him to a fool and commanding, in addition to speaking down on him. But as we all know (SPOILERS), Gustl excuses himself from the responsibility of committing suicide at the instance he hears news of the baker’s death. The fact still remains that Gustl is insecure and anxious. He was not in the position or authority to duel with the baker, but even if he had, he would be no match for him in terms of identity; the baker is older, much stronger, and self-aware. The least that Gustl could have done was to stand up for himself, yet his insecurity caused him to freeze and allow for the more capable baker to take control of the situation.

Samurai would commit seppuku regardless of any fear, as they were focused to remain noble even through death. Unlike Gustl, they had a commitment to their status where they were completely confident of their identity as a samurai and the code of conduct that they followed. Seppuku was an “honourable punishment” that even rivaling nobles/samurai were given when captured. Committing seppuku in battle meant controlling one’s life and continuing to take on a noble status; the act of committing seppuku allows the samurai to take control of their life and death, refusing to allow this power to fall into the enemy’s hands and thus, die honourably.

While suicide is considered an appropriate punishment for shamed officers such as Gustl, it was possible for seppuku to be executed with assistance. The earlier, ritual form of seppuku took place in the 11th century where the samurai was first clothed in a white kimono.  The candidate would then initiate seppuku by cutting their abdomen with a short dagger, moving it from the left upper body to the right. (It was believed that cutting the stomach would release the samurai’s spirit straight into the afterlife.) A かいしゃく人 (Kaishakunin) then steps in to finish the ritual by cleanly beheading the samurai once they have lowered their head. (Kaishakunins could be individuals who were close to the samurai.) A quick and accurate cut meant less suffering for the samurai and despite the assistance of death, these forms of seppuku were still considered “honourable”.

For the officers of the Viennese time, dueling and committing an “honourable” suicide were limited to only certain members of the noble class, where neither Jews nor women were allowed to participate. This was not the case for the principle of seppuku. Despite being reserved for samurai and nobility, it was acceptable for women and commoners to commit seppuku. The method of carrying out this act differed for women. Instead of using a short dagger, they would use a long knife or sharp hairpin to stab their heart. Although rare, seppuku could be used to demonstrate ultimate loyalty for the deceased or death of a loved one as well.

It appears that the most critical social obligation for the Viennese officers were their pride of masculinity. I wonder if Gustl, according to the principals of an officer, truly valued masculinity. Obviously he is anxious and insecure of how others perceive him and his “authority”. He is also very defensive, but I question if he is this way because he feels he must dominate other men or if he believes he is entitled to some other form of power due to his occupation. I assume it is the influence of both, as without a solid sense of masculinity, his status as an officer would deteriorate just as he tries to avoid the social obligation in his time: death after shame.


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Do You Remember?

In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud claims that some children who are attached to their stuffed animals or dolls would at one point, wish that they became alive. Speaking on behalf of my childhood-self, I must say that this holds true and that this theory reminds me greatly of my own experience..which I will now share.

My mother once told me that at night, when the clock strikes past twelve and the children are all sleeping, the dolls in the household would come to life. However, if the dolls sensed that even one child was awake, they would retreat back into their lifeless form. (Sounds like Toy Story, yeah?) As a child hearing this, I wanted to witness this magical event, but I could never keep myself awake long enough. Despite this, there were numerous instances where I had awoken in the middle of the night and could have sworn to hear faint murmurs and laughter. The dolls that I had were outside in the living room, one wall and corridor apart from the bedroom. On one particular night, I had awoken again and could hear from the bedroom wall, the same joyful, tiny, laughter and conversation. At this point, one may reason that it was my parents who were watching television outside, but let me assure you, they were not. At that time, we lived in a one-bedroom complex and my parents were already sound asleep next to me. Taking on the adventurous spirit found in most children, I lurked outside, venturing into the living room. I was convinced I would finally be able to “meet” my dolls in person, yet, the voices began to fade into silence as I slowly entered the room. Perhaps it was simply the lack of logical thinking (especially late at night and the influence of my mother’s tale) or memory that caused me to look at the placement of where I had last left my dolls (sitting in a row, backs against the wall, bums on the couch) and notice that one or two of them were out of place. (I will take any possibility of paranormal activity out of this situation, as I simply hate and fear the paranormal) After fixing their posture, I headed back to the bedroom and pretended to sleep. I had hoped to catch my dolls “in action” once more, however, as the time passed, nothing but silent snoring could be heard and I began to fall asleep. I made several more attempts the following days, all of which had failed miserably. The desire to see my dolls alive had then also moved on.

For many individuals, imagination is at its “peak” during their early years. Why must this ability fade as we get older? Of course, more responsibilities are adopted as we age, but this does not mean that we must altogether abandon imagination and creativity. For myself, I simply enjoyed the freedom to create, whether it be a silly character or situation. This passion has transformed into a hobby which drives me to express my imagination through my artwork and graphic novels (enjoyable to any person of age). Perhaps so many of us have trouble interacting with children and keep up with their mentality as we have long forgotten the process of our own imaginative thinking when we were once their age.


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Who Doesn’t Love Animals?

I’ve noticed that in William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, he uses a variety of animals in both his poems and illustrations. A few of these that caught my eye were the lamb, the tiger, lion, and fly (specifically in Songs of Experience). I begin to wonder why these few were chosen for their own composition and what their significance could possibly be, if any at all.

The Lamb

It is very common to find lambs symbolizing a childish state of nature, whether they be in fables or in Blake’s compositions. The first mention of the lamb is found in the eighth plate of Songs of Innocence, titled,”The Lamb” (Big surprise, right? ha..haa). The poem starts off with questioning how the lamb has come to be and who has created it. Interestingly enough, in Songs of Experience, “The Tyger”, the same question of who the identity of the creator belongs to, appears again (but more on that later). “I a child and thou a lamb” (line 17). The speaker here is clearly not Blake, but rather the child on the plate. The child asks questions out of curiosity only to answer them in response. Because both child and lamb are present in the composition of “The Lamb”, it is safe to say that both the lamb and child represent innocence, as seen with the description of both of them to be “meek” and “mild” on line 5.

In “The CLOD & the PEBBLE”, there is no mention of the lamb in text, but the image shows a variety of animals. There are frogs, ducks, cattle, and the lambs which have grown older into large sheep. So what is their significance in this piece? Well,the most obvious statement one could make is that they demonstrate maturity…or as Geoffrey Keynes interprets it as “selfish love” (144) where the sheep are not as “innocent” as they once had been as a lamb. But as Professor Mota mentioned in lecture, Blake’s pieces are not meant to be interpreted as polar opposites or to be solely one interpretation alone. The sheep’s placement in “The CLOD & the PEBBLE” (Songs of Experience) compared to the lambs in Songs of Innocence do suggest some sort of transition from childhood to adulthood, but this does not necessarily mean the sheep (or anybody who goes through this transition) completely lose their innocence. The end of the first stanza reads, “Hell in Heavens” (line 12) and the end of the poem reads the opposite, “Heaven in Hells” (line 14). Perhaps this suggests experience and innocence are in one another alike and a lack of influence from both of these would result in an inability to mature as wholesome adults like the sheep.

The Fly

This is a common parasite we’ve all had to deal with one time or another. The insect’s life-span is short and so it is ironic that flies are most commonly used to represent death. In the fortieth plate, “THE FLY”, the speaker is Blake. He compares himself to the fly in which it is happy in the short time that it it alive. It is as if to say, adults must come to the realization that death is inevitable. In doing so, they may find themselves to be able to live as freely as the fly does and without care of judgment.

The Tiger

Right off the bat, the forty-first plate is deliberately titled “The Tyger”.  I’m not sure sure why “Tyger” is spelt with a “y” instead of an “i”, however, Blake also did not give the image of the tiger as many stripes as it should have. Unlike “The Lamb”, questions made about the tiger’s existence are never answered. Perhaps the absence of such details are the reasons why Blake has included this beast as a part of Songs of Experience. It is perhaps a statement about this feline’s raw strength and size in nature that is perfectly stunning and at the same time, perfectly destructive.

The Lions

Lions are majestic and symbolize courage and monarchy.  In “The Little Girl Found”, the lion is described with features such as a “heavy mane”, “golden hair”, and has a “crown”. There appears to be a mutual relationship between the lions and the “tygers” as they coexist within the lion’s cave. Blake may have decided to use both the tiger and lion as symbols of strength and pride as they are both capable hunters in the wild. Or perhaps he means to convey the importance of having confidence in one’s identity to live in prosperity. For example,when a child transforms into an adult without a solid understanding of who they are, they may become wild and uncontrollable like a hungry tiger or lion. On the other hand, if one is self-aware, one will not be influenced by the world they interact with. Instead, one can learn to become a strong and confident figure in their community and lead a “pride” of their own such as the lion and his pride of both tigers and lions.



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One Creature to Rule Them All

Why use a picture when you can draw one, right? (Excuse my terrible coloring)

Why use a picture when you can draw one, right? (Excuse my terrible coloring)

When I think of the title Leviathan, my mind immediately wanders to the mythical creature that shares this name. In ancient folklore, the Leviathan is a serpent-like beast immense in size that dwells within the seas. Similar to a dragon, its thick and scaly armor protects it from being penetrated by harpoons and spears while smoke escapes its nostrils when breathing fire. Alongside these features, its strength is said to be so forceful that it is capable of creating tsunamis. Now, having taken this majestic beast into consideration, let us reflect on the image of the Leviathan presented to us in the introduction.

Behind the hills of this village stands a Leviathan in the form of a man, his head of his own, but his body composed of several other men. It is interesting to note that this version of the Leviathan is given only one head while the serpent alternative can be interpreted with various appearances such as a female counterpart or be multi-headed. Professor Hendrick’s lecture touched a little on this, where as a whole, the human Leviathan represents the sovereign and its head specifically represents the monarch. If the monarch is not singular, then it is unable to enforce and have complete control over the laws effectively. Hence, the sword (representing the military) and staff (representing religion) are held in this being’s hands, which unlike its body, are not made up of a multitude of men.

Upon closer inspection of the Leviathan’s body, you can see the men are positioned in such a way that they all face towards the head. Yes, this shows how the citizens collectively agree to be unified, but they only make up a portion of the body as a whole, the torso. Where is the lower body? Does it have one at all? If so, are the men who create it looking up at the head as well, or does their gaze wander elsewhere? Or perhaps they are not shown at all to signify that those who oppose the monarch will not be accepted by the sovereign and community united. One speculation of mine is that the lower body is not revealed to portray the sacrifice of liberty men must make to ensure peace will be created and maintained for the benefit of all in society. With set boundaries for the impediments of mankind, one then has a clear understanding of what actions of freedom are acceptable and will not negatively impact others.

Although, it is perhaps the positioning of the Leviathan that works effectively in answering these questions. The torso of the human Leviathan is visible over the hills and gives the illusion of the serpent Leviathan emerging out of the water, intimidating its attackers and prey. Because it is grand in size and power, perhaps these attributes are left represented by the torso to install the same intimidation among men so that they obey the laws. Fear is, after-all, an emotion that compels us to preserve ourselves  so that we may not have to confront danger and turmoil, but instead be left in peace.

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