Thursday, January 28, 2010

Joaquin Murieta

Here are a couple random observations about Joaquin that may, or may not, have anything to do with one another.

Joaquin becomes a "monster" that disrupts the American western society by his numerous robberies and killings. Joaquin, and to some extent the narrator, justifies him becoming a monster because of the atrocities that he had endured. As seen in with a couple instances in the book Joaquin is a bandit with a couple of ground rules. Do not kill those who help you and do not harm women. My problem is trying to figure out if he is struggling with balancing these two persona's, the noble Joaquin and the "monster" Joaquin, or if over time through the company that he keeps is he slowly becoming another Three-Finger Jack, a character that eventually enjoys killing for the thrill.

It also appears that Joaquin is beginning to fall in love with his own legend. What I mean by that is that he is appears to be prideful of all of the stories and rumors that are circulated. There is one scene where Joaquin is sitting in a bar or saloon, it was either by himself or playing Monte, that he overheard a conversation. There was a group of Americans sitting near him with one man saying how if Joaquin Murieta was in the bar right now that he would shoot him between the eyes. Joaquin jumped up on the table and exclaimed that he was indeed Joaquin Murieta and that if there was anyone brave enough to step outside with him to go now. Joaquin left and no one followed. I can only believe that this cocky response of "here I am, what are you going to do" was not only influenced by the fact that he new everyone feared him, but it also fueled the rumor mill fire that much more.

These are just a couple of things that I found interesting about Joaquin so far. To end, if there was one thing I could do to change this book to make it better I would introduce chapters or some other breaks in the story, because the way it is constructed now drives me crazy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Blithedale Romance

Life After Blithedale

At the end of the Blithedale-Pasture chapter, we are introduced to a strange reversal of roles. Coverdale tells us that through his curiosity that he seeks out Hollingsworth many years later after Zenobia’s death. He finds an emotionally broken down Hollingsworth with Priscilla by his side. The relationship between Hollingsworth and Priscilla has totally swapped with Hollingsworth “showed a self-destructive weakness, and a childlike, or childish, tendency to press close, and closer still” to Priscilla’s side (242). Coverdale observes Priscilla as being the protector and having a watchful quality, the guardian of Hollingsworth (242). An interesting role reversal, seeing as at Blithedale Hollingsworth was Priscilla’s protector, but even though Priscilla was not self loathing, she still stayed close to Hollingsworth’s protective gaze.

This is not a complete role reversal however. With their new roles each character stayed true to themselves. Priscilla is still “deep, submissive,, unquestioning reverence, and also a veiled happiness in her fair and quiet countenance” all qualities that she possessed in her younger years at Blithedale (242). Even Hollingsworth keeps his original purpose as a philanthropist, but instead of rehabilitating other criminals, he is rehabilitating himself because he sees himself as being Zenobia’s killer (243).

Even with this role reversal you can see that the characters changed, but it is frustrating that Coverdale does not grow. He is still the self absorbed bachelor that he had been before his journey to Blithedale. In his confession he says, “I by no means wish to die, Yet, were there any cause, in this whole chaos of human struggle, worth a sane man’s dying for, and which my death would benefit, then-provided, however, the effort did not involve an unreasonable amount of trouble-methinks I might be bold to offer up my life” (246). Same old Coverdale, it appears that he is saying the right, the noble, thing to say, but reading his statement it does not appear to be genuine. The only sacrifice that he had ever made was giving up his bachelor ways for the prospect of improving his life, he was not worried about the others.