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Life of Pi and The Yellow Wallpaper/The Metamorphosis Essay


The Engineer 1 / -  
May 6, 2010   #1
Hello, I am very new to this forum and I'm under the impression that one can either ask for help on improving/starting their essay or getting feedback on their completed essay. Is this correct? Now that that's out of the way, I really need help trying to get my essay started, I'm doing a comparative essay comparing the two short stories using the marxist perspective. I plan on comparing how there is an uprising of somebody against some overbearing dictator and how in "The Life of Pi" the uprising was successful and in "The Yellow Wallpaper"/"The Metamorphosis" it was unsuccessful. Perhaps I should explain how these stories differed, to create alternate outcomes. Would that be a good idea.

To have a better grasp on what level this essay has to be on, I'm in Grade 12 at the U level (for those in Ontario) so I need a fair degree of analysis. Also my essay needs to be eight pages double-spaced so there has to be enough content to talk about.

My current thesis: Martel and Kafka create an uprising of the working class over their human dictators through the establishment of power, the pursuit of freedom, leading into the varied outcome of the animals and Gregor.

As you can see this thesis is sub-par and needs a great deal of improvement. I would REALLY appreciate if anyone can steer me in the right direction or help me create a better thesis. If you are wondering the instructions were: "Compare your classic Canadian novel (Life of Pi), with one of the short stories (The Yellow Wallpaper/The Metamorphosis). You must use one of the critical perspectives (marxist perspective) and apply the chosen critical perspective to your analysis/interpretation of the combined texts. There must be three secondary sources."

Also what should my seconddary sources be, I neveer understood what a secondary source is used for? Also when I get my 8-page essay done, can I post it on a new thread to get it critizied or is that NOT how this forum works? I browsed a couple threads and seen nothing more than 2-pages.

-Lots of questions, THANKS!!
=)
linmark 2 / 328 7  
May 8, 2010   #2
Perhaps I should explain how these stories differed, to create alternate outcomes. Would that be a good idea.

Yes, first compare the stories for the basic themes you listed as your "current thesis." Then apply the Marxist critical perspective to your analysis/interpretation of the combined texts. Don't think it necessarily asks you to create alternate outcomes.

At this point, just write out all the parts that were significant, then go through and select the strongest ones. A pattern of common themes will emerge that should help guide your analysis and interpretation.

For definition of secondary source: princeton.edu/~refdesk/primary2.html
(Spoiler: look these up after you make your basic comparison. They can serve you as an alternative roadmap.)
MsM - / 1  
May 8, 2010   #3
I am a grade 12 English teacher at the U level. This assignment seems very similar to one that I give to my class every year as an independent study unit. Every year I attempt to boost my students' final grades by giving them this relatively easy assignment. I give them two months to prepare, and throughout the two months I hold conferences with them so that they achieve the highest possible grade. For the past years that I have taught this course, students have not taken advantage of this opportunity that I give them to come up to me and ask questions. I suggest that you ask your teacher for help. There is no one more apt than him/her to lead you in the correct path. If you handed in an essay to me with that thesis, you would fail. It is actually one of the worst I have ever seen. It has no direction, purpose or even an argument for that matter. "sub-par" indeed.

Ms. M
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
May 8, 2010   #4
Yes, you can ask for help with any aspect of the process. We are all here to help each other.

"Compare your classic Canadian novel (Life of Pi), with one of the short stories (The Yellow Wallpaper/The Metamorphosis). You must use one of the critical perspectives (marxist perspective) and apply the chosen critical perspective to your analysis/interpretation of the combined texts.

It sounds like you need to include all three components in the introduction paragraph. You'll need to mention both works of literature and also the Marxist perspective. However, you should write the intro last, after you have written some body paragraphs.

Write a body paragraph that applies Marxist evaluation criteria to one of the works. How does it fare under this kind of scrutiny? Tell the reader all about it in a discussion based on the Marxist perspective.

Next, apply the same Marxist criteria to the other work. This will show some similarities and differences.

You can repeat this process with several different pieces of Marxist criteria. Page after page, Marxist criteria can be applied to each story, and similarities and differences will be revealed.

After several pages, you will have made some distinct observations, and your essay will be developing its own unique theme. That is when you should go back and write the introduction.

:-)
Essay Guy - / 2  
May 13, 2010   #5
The Life of Pi Essay

Hello, I was wondering if anyone can proof-read my Life of Pi essay. It extremely late notice and it's actually due tommorow so if anyone can help in a short amount of time that would be great! Also I still need to put three secondary sources on this essay. I was thinking of putting America's history of power during World War II for my first developing point but having trouble trying to implement it. Still need two more secondary sources though. Not sure on the proper way to post my essay but I will just post it here:

Mythology has been a focal point of many civilizations including that of the great Babylonians. It was through this mythology that symbolism was birthed. "The Life of Pi" written by Yann Martel and "The Metamorphosis" written by Franz Kafka help to continue this mythology through the inner meaning of various characters. Both novels share a cringing mood that is woven into the many symbolic figures that appear. They are able to create an environment where symbols are prevalent, including that of authority, death, and colour.

Power, symbolic through Richard Parker and Gregor's father, is exhibited through their passive nature during peace, aggression during hostility, and the actual exhibition of brute force. Authoritative figure remain calm under calm circumstances, thus were Richard Parker and Gregor's father. Pi states that, "I couldn't see Richard Parker. He wasn't on the tarpaulin or on the bench. He was at the bottom of the lifeboat" (Martel 117). There were no problems that needed to be dealt with so Richard Parker remained level-headed as it was unnecessary to act recklessly. More specifically there was no harm to Pi so Richard Parker stayed under the boat, like the repressed manifestation of strength that Pi has created. Just as Richard Parker remained calm, so did Gregor's father as he says, "'Gregor, Gregor,' he called, 'what's going on'" (Kafka 395). Gregor's father retains his cool composure as he sincerely asks about Gregor's well being. This displays his apparent passivity during the procession of the status quo, just as a character of authority would act. There is no need to act carelessly during times of normality, but once this structure is destroyed order must be restored. When trouble ensues, the nature of both characters act, and aggression is implemented. Pi states that, "Richard Parker has risen and emerged. He was not fifteen feet from me. Oh, the size of him" (Martel 166). Richard Parker has emerged from under his hiding spot, only when the hyena poses a threat to Pi's life. This is because the tiger is in fact the courageous ferocity that Pi has within himself. When Pi was threatened, it was released to show that Pi had the capacity to become a leader and rule the government of the boat. Not even the brutal strength of the hyena would stop Pi since he had the power of a tiger. Gregor's father also displays his aggression when the narrator says, "His father balled his fist with a fierce expression, as if he wanted to knock Gregor back into his room" (Kafka 400). Now that the status quo has been uplifted, Gregor's father shows his ability to facilitate a situation, and he expresses his aggression. The once shallow vision of traditional life is shattered and in its place is an annoying pest that is a threat to the family. This belligerence is the nature of the symbol of an authoritative figure. Verbal aggression is not enough to correct a situation though, physical force might be necessary. Richard Parker and Gregor's father demonstrate their ability to suppress a situation using qualities of their symbolic constitution. Pi exclaims, "This was at the terrible cost of Richard Parker...He ripped the flesh off the man's frame and crack his bones. The smell of blood filled my nose" (Martel 283). Pi has succumbed to the inner power-figure that resided in his being. He demonstrates his acquired violent self with the death of the hyena and the blind man. The time was dire and action had to be taken, so the authority that Pi had, made sure that his adversaries were gone. Just as Pi exhibited his strength, Gregor's father exhibited his as well. The narrator states, "He began to drive Gregor back into his room by swatting at him with the stick and the newspaper" (Kafka 402). Gregor's father resorts to violence as a means to correction. Gregor is physically attacked, to protect the family and to display the strength that Gregor's father possess. Like all authority figures, Gregor's father has the pure brawn to combat a situation. Although the power of authority was a prominent symbol in both novels, the lowly cockroach also had symbolic meaning as well.

The use of cockroaches helps to symbolize the cease of irritation, the deficiency of the physical, and throws a sarcastic pun to the nature of the cockroach. The cockroach is known for its ability to irritate its landlords, thus the end of its existence means liberation. Pi states, "I heard a gentle thrashing buzz. I saw something land in the water next to me" (Martel 188). The cockroach exhibits its perpetually bounded annoyance, which plays in hand to its symbolic nature. The cockroach then dies. This leads into not only the obvious destruction of the cockroach's irritable ways, but is also a symbolic gesture to the liberation of Pi passive being. Pi, who was once conventional to his meek nature, begins to display his ferocity after the cockroaches die. Pi, though, was not the only one to feel liberation after a cockroach's death; the Samsa family shared this relief. The narrator says, "Then, unwilled, his head sank fully down, and from his nostrils his last breath weakly steamed forth" (Kafka 420). Gregor, the cockroach, dies and it's to the family's benefit. For several months Gregor has proved only to be an annoyance so with his death comes the liberation that the Samsa family was yearning. Both Pi and Gregor experience the physical deficiency that the symbolic nature of the cockroach explains. Pi says, "Alone or not, lost or not, I was thirsty and hungry" (Martel 187). Prior to the cockroaches' suicide, Pi is left to feel hunger and physically exhausted. After the cockroaches die, Pi is granted food as flying fish begin to appear around him. One could say that the death of the cockroaches initiated an end to Pi's physical disposition. Gregor on the other hand felt this physical exhaustion for being a cockroach. The narrator says, "The deep injury from which Gregor has suffered for over a month - the apple remained embedded in his flesh as a visible memento" (Kafka 413). Since Gregor is a cockroach, he feels physical insufficiency. Gregor is ironically burdened with pain just as he himself is a hindrance. This all plays with the notion of the cockroach as a symbolic figure. Cockroaches symbolize fatigue so Gregor's very existence leads to his painful endeavours. Not all symbolic traits of cockroaches where exhibited through the cockroaches, it was also contradicted. The sarcastic use of a cockroach's death defies the essence of the cockroach as a symbol, which is of its survivability. Pi states, "It was a cockroach. It floated for a second or two before being swallowed by an underwater mouth. Another cockroach landed in the water. In the next minute, ten or so cockroaches plopped into the water" (Martel 188). The cockroach loses its defining trait of life. Martel conforms to the symbolic nature of the cockroach up to this point. He not only brings death upon the cockroaches but he instils it through suicide. This is a method used to help convey the greatness of Pi's upbringing of Richard Parker as it was greater than the cockroaches' inherit passion for life. Gregor was also subject to this sarcasm. The narrator says, "Then, unwilled, his head sank fully down, and from his nostrils his last breath streamed forth" (Kafka 420). Gregor, the cockroach, dies which is contrary to the symbol of his character. He shows fortitude for life for the entire novel, but meets the sullen acceptance of death at the very end of the novel. Gregor's death, amazing in magnitude, is shadowed by his family's lack of amazement. The differing feelings are like that of the colour palette, imbued into either of the novels.

The prevailing colours in both stories contrast each other as they are symbolic of differing things including that of life, action, and hope. Life is portrayed differently in both novels as one reflects the notion of survival while the other is surrounded by death. Pi explains that there's, "The bright orange tarpaulin" (Martel 117). The prevalent colour in "This Life of Pi" is orange, and it's encapsulated in the tarpaulin that remains on the boat and in the story for a significant majority of time. Orange is a symbol of survival and the tarpaulin, that is orange, helps to solidify this truth. This symbol of survival is strongly contrasted with the symbol of death. The narrator says, "'And now?' Gregor asked himself, and looked around into the dark" (Kafka 420). The colour that is established in "The Metamorphosis" is black. This blackness is exhibited through Gregor's cavern bedroom. Black is a symbol of death, and it in fact is true that the lingering hue of death resides in Gregor's bedroom, as ne is upon his last breaths. These two colours of orange and black conflict with one another, as one is an instiller of life while the other in essence destroys this life. Also the vibrancy of the colour orange is shadowed by the darkness of black. Pi states, "And Orange Juice had not only cheered me up; she had taken on both feelings of seasickness. I was feeling fine now" (Martel 135). Orange is also a symbol of vibrancy, which is what Orange Juice demonstrates as she is able to help Pi overcome his seasickness. Her joyful presence is enough to live up to her symbolic name and the sorrowful tone turns into a lighter one. This is contrasted by an orthodox lifestyle. The narrator says, "He lay on a back as hard as armour and saw, when he raised his head slightly, a jutting brown underbelly" (Kafka 393). The dark colours denote the orthodox. Gregor himself was dark so he was enveloped with a conservative lifestyle. He didn't fight back nor show any aggression like his father. Finally, the colours fight between the concepts of hope and hopelessness. Pi says, "Richard Parker thank you. Thank you for saving my life" (Martel 317). Richard Parker is a bright orange tiger, and the colour orange is illuminated though the hope he inspires. The colour orange in fact does symbolize hope and Martel was clear on this when he establishes Richard Parker as reserved when hope was lost and active when hope was prominent. Contrary to this hope was the hopelessness that Gregor felt. The narrator says, "Gregor was in the dark again, while nest door the women mingled tears or stared, dry-eyed and numb, down at the table" (Kafka 414). The dark colour of Gregor's room is established once again, and with it comes the realization of hopelessness. Gregor is locked in his room and the family that he loves is suffering because of him. Gregor is destroyed by this concept that his life brings pain, and whatever hope that Gregor had of the future is trampled. This is heavily contrasted by the colour orange that is exhibited in "The Life of Pi" where life is fought for whereas in "The Metamorphosis" life is questioned.

"The Life of Pi" and "The Metamorphosis" implements symbols that are fundamental to the structure of these novels including that of power, destruction, and colouration. Yann Martel and Franz Kafka are able to create novels that are on the outside, brilliant. But with a closer perspective and an understanding of the symbolism that is permeated into both novels, one can truly envision that essence of the stories. Martel and Kafka are recognized as illustrious authors as they are able to paint a perfect picture. Both novels were flawless in their ability to symbolize characters, to exhibit the actual meaning that each one held.
cbsmallville 4 / 9  
May 13, 2010   #6
Your essay is well written, i thought it was very informative. i really don't see any misspelling and about the sources, i think they are well implemented in because that's how i always do mine in my essays. Hope that helped.
Essay Guy - / 2  
May 14, 2010   #7
Thanks but I can get some more feedback? I just handed this essay in and wondering if there was anything that I missed. Also was my word choice a little too much or was it fine? I tried to make it sound as exciting as I could.
meisj0n 8 / 272 2  
May 14, 2010   #8
well, one piece of advise for any reader/writer out there, try to keep paragraphs shorter to aid in retaining the main point of a paragraph if not concise, at least memorable for that paragraph.

I know this is an analytical paper, but nevertheless, keep it readable:? :] at least a bit more so.

Mythology has been a focal point of many civilizations including that of the great Babylonians.

So it's a catch phrase. But what does this and the next sentence have anything to do with the essay (other than the mythology reference that "symbolism" is mythological?)

the inner meaning of various characters.

What do you mean? I mean that by inner meaning, do you mean character, or hidden meaning, or even the mysterious inner consciousness of of the characters? I'm sorry if I sound bitter, but being vague is nice, but sometimes, it helps to be clearer, especially when you go to so much depth in such a weighty topic.

Power, symbolized* through

Though you turned in the paper, there's always next time. Another comment: work on being more concise, making sure what you say is somehow connected with what you say, and making clearer cut analysis of evidence presented* If you want to look at a layout, Google Bloom's taxonomy.

"Authoritative figure remain calm under calm circumstances, thus were Richard Parker and Gregor's father." < an example of what I don't understand about your paper :/ It's a bit heavy for me. (heavy as in hard to understand)
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
May 15, 2010   #9
They are able to create an environment where symbols are prevalent, including that of authority, death, and colour.--- including what of authority, death, and color? I would do this:

They are able to create environments where symbols are prevalent, including environments of authority, death, and colour.

Now, this makes me expect to see the word authority in the first sentence of the irst para, theword death i the first sentence of the second para, and colour in the first sentence of the third para. That is how to write TOPIC SENTENCES that correspond to the thesis.

Also,
Power, symbolic through Richard Parker and Gregor's father, is exhibited through their passive nature during peace, aggression during hostility, and the actual exhibition of brute force. Authoritative figures remain calm under calm circumstances, thus were Richard Parker and Gregor's father. Pi states that , "I couldn't see Richard Parker. He wasn't...

Add this sentence later in the paragraph if you want to:Power, symbolic through Richard Parker and Gregor's father, is exhibited through their passive nature during peace, aggression during hostility, and the actual exhibition of brute force. -- but don't put it at the start or it will confuse the reader.

:-)


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