Thursday, January 28, 2010
While reading this "novel", I never actually disliked Joaquin Murrieta. By all modern means he is a cruel, dangerous murderer. But I can't help but to feel sorry for him and almost empathize with his cause. He was run off his land many times, watched his wife be brutally assaulted, was tortured and beaten, and had his brother hung without a trial. All because he was Mexican, even though he was an upstanding citizen. Only after all these events took place did he even seek revenge. I wonder how many of these tragedies most people now could take before reacting in some way. So while he is choosing to murder hundreds of Americans in a vendetta against the people that mistreated him, he chooses his victims purposely. Joaquin only kills the people he thinks deserve it and many times throughout the book, he lets people walk away safely and tells them he will not kill them and he "regrets having to rob them". I may not agree that killing people, especially many people that were not directly involved in the crimes committed against Joaquin is moral, fair or right in the slightest, It's possible that the people that hurt him created the "California Bandit". Do you think that they can be blamed at all for his murderous rampages?
Thursday, January 21, 2010
A big theme that I noticed throughout this entire novel was the idea of femininity and what kind of appearance and personality makes a woman ideal. Zenobia is seen as such a strong woman who has her own opinions and shares them openly, exercises regularly, and has a very exotic beauty. Priscilla, on the other hand, is weak, pale, and rarely expresses an original idea. At the beginning of the book the men seem to be interested more in Zenobia; at least Coverdale does who is constantly picturing her naked "like Eve". However, by the end of the novel, both main men declare their love for Priscilla. This really supports the belief based on the "Cult of Womanhood" with the characteristics of an "admirable" woman. Zenobia, who clearly does not fit this model is devastated by the end of the book when her opinions and love have been shot down by Hollingsworth. Her motive for killing herself could be contributed to many things, but I think it is because there is no place for a woman like her in that culture. The moment she realized this was when Hollingsworth choose to love Priscilla, a woman who she held contempt for because Priscilla did not expose any of the strengths that Zenobia valued so much. Seeing that a woman like Priscilla was preferred, made her give up. She gave Priscilla the permission to date Hollingsworth that she knew Priscilla desired and gave up her jeweled flower. Her actions were a selfless acknowledgement that Priscilla is a "true woman" in that culture. The fact that Hawthorne (through Coverdale's perspective) makes Zenobia out to be a beautiful Eve-like woman, and Priscilla out to be a weak, empty-minded girl shows that he does not subscribe to the same model of an attractive lady as Hollingsworth and Coverdale do. Hawthorne subtly shows that he thinks the men are fools.